Procrastination is a silent killer.
It lurks in the shadows. It mingles amongst us, rarely showing its true face. And it has killed more dreams than failure ever will. Then, you see the smoldering ashes of what once was your big goal, look back, and say “I wish I had.”
But you didn’t. You didn’t work out like you promised yourself. You didn’t surprise your partner with the weekend vacation. You didn’t follow the great business idea you had. Instead, you went on YouTube to watch funny videos of cats wearing tiny sombreros.
“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” — Christopher Parker
Realizing you’ve wasted your time, energy, and potential feels like taking a bowling ball to the stomach. Imagine where your life could be instead if you just took that tiny step a few years ago.
As a former lazy student and current hardworking business owner, I’m familiar with the problems of procrastination.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to solve them – you have to think out of the box.
Adopt This Mindset If Your Perfectionism Holds You Back
“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you got, and fix it along the way…” ― Paul Arden
Your perspective determines your reality. You can view the glass as half full or half empty – the water doesn’t change but your interpretation does.
I used to be a die-hard perfectionist. But a good intention often meant I ended up doing nothing because the time, place, or Mercury’s position to the sun wasn’t right.
Now, this is where your perspective comes into play.
Instead of viewing a less-than-perfect result as wasted time, view it as a version 1.0 – the steppingstone to the best you can do.
My first article was shit. My first reps at the gym were wobbly. My first dates were laughable at best and cringeworthy at worst.
But you have to start somewhere.
Even if you don’t have the time, skills, or energy to produce perfection from the start, you can still do something valuable.
- Send out one pitch.
- Read one page.
- Do one exercise.
- Meditate for one minute.
- Eat one healthy meal.
That’s all you need to do.
Once the ball gets rolling, it’s easy to keep the momentum – and improve along the way.
This Powerful Realization Will Get You Going If You Lack Motivation
“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” — Michael Landon Jr.
Here’s a harsh truth:
There’s more to explore and experience on this earth than you will have time for.
Especially if you lack the motivation to make shit happen.
But there is no reason to not be motivated if you spin the above thought a little further:
You will die – likely before you’re ready to do so.
That’s all the motivation you need. I mean, look at the world around you. Look at the endless possibilities and opportunities, all the fun you can have, all the emotions you can feel, all the adventures you can go on. And you want to leave all that on the table because you feel lazy or want to scroll through memes instead?
I know you understand this. On a fundamental level, you feel the same existential dread as everyone else. Yet, your thoughts are often too far away to cause real change – the Netflix special is on right now, your death won’t be for a few decades.
But when you confront the harsh truth of your finite life, it kicks you into gear.
Whenever I feel lazy and unmotivated, I visualize my death. Not in a stomach-turning, squashed in a car wreck kind of way. But by envisioning myself on my deathbed, falling short of all the things I wanted to achieve and experience because I procrastinated.
It’s not a nice feeling, but it’s a damn good motivation.
Because sometimes, all you need is a hearty kick in the butt.
How To Turn The Script If You Find Excuses
“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.” ― Ayn Rand
You can trick yourself into productivity the same way you trick yourself into procrastination.
When I went hiking with my dad, I got blisters on my feet because he’s an endurance maniac – but I also noticed an interesting pattern.
Every time you have a long, straight stretch of the path ahead, it feels endless. You count steps and dread life choices. But when you make your way through a warped forest path where you can only see a hundred meters or so ahead, your perception changes.
It seems much more doable – all you have to do is walk from corner to corner.This is how procrastination works. “Just one more video. Just five more minutes. Just one more snooze.” Three hours pass while you jump from one more to one more.
The cool thing: this also works the other way around.
When you want to quit before you’re done, tell yourself “just one more.”
One more page to read. One more line of code. One more exercise.With every “one more,” you not only get more done but also feel your motivation improve because you overcome your lazy self.
You can easily trick your brain – so do it in a way that benefits you.
This Is How You Can Eliminate All Distractions
“When we clutter our lives with imagined obligations, unnecessary activities, and distractions that only kill time, we dilute the power of our lives.” – Anne Katherine
Your environment influences you more than you imagine.
Put yourself in a room with fit people and you’ll want to work out. Entrepreneurs, you’ll want to build. Weed smokers, you’ll want to roll up and listen to Snoop Dog.
And if you surround yourself with distractions, well…
One notification on your phone is enough to suck you into a digital rabbit hole for hours. But you can eliminate most distractions by using a simple technique called environmental design.
Set up your environment to work for you, instead of against you.
- Put your phone out of sight and reach when you want to work
- Hide the TV remote and replace it with a book
- Download a website blocker for your laptop
- Clean up your desk so there’s nothing that distracts you
- Set up your WiFi router to turn off at a certain time
The possibilities are endless.
Set your environment up the right way and you’ll beat procrastination on autopilot.
Summary to help you beat procrastination
Every day, you make a choice.
You choose whether in the future, you look back at your life saying “I wish I had,” or “I’m so glad I did it.”
If procrastination gets the better of you, use one of these four approaches:
- If you’re a perfectionist: Take small steps and frame your initial efforts as version 1.0.
- If you lack motivation: Remember that you will die and have absolutely no time to waste.
- If you find excuses: Trick your brain into doing more by cutting your work into small chunks, telling yourself to do just one more until you’ve made it.
- If you get easily distracted: Design your environment for focus and productivity.
“The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, productivity. You can be, too.” – Norman Vincent Peale