7 Surprisingly Effective Strategies For Beating Procrastination


I procrastinated on doing this podcast. I know that it’s a topic that my listeners will love and that my ideas will be valuable to them. However, I couldn’t get started. In my head, it seemed so hard. It was easier to keep watching the Surfing contest from Bells Beach streaming on my laptop than do a podcast. The more I procrastinated the more anxiety I felt. I love doing my podcast, but I felt some psychological barrier preventing me from doing so today.

I started making excuses to myself:

I was afraid that it wouldn’t be a good episode. That recording it would be a waste of time or that my ideas would sound stupid or wouldn’t be useful to my listening. Then, I started feeling guilt and shame about procrastinating. That made me even less motivated to start. You probably have those days too where you don’t feel like it. It’s okay because none of us are machines and there will be times when we just want to chill out and relax.

There’ll be times where you think “What’s the point?” What’s it all mean?

That’s that negative self-talk you have play in your mind when you sit down to work on your passion. Your brain tells you “Who’s listening anyway? What’s the point?”

That doesn’t mean you give up:

Today I didn’t want to do it and I did it anyway. And if I feel like this again tomorrow with all my other tasks and my to do list, I’m going to do exactly the same.

Everyone has good days and bad days. As human beings, there are things about our nature that cannot be controlled, like our genetic composition, chemical balance, and hormone production.

What that means is that one day you may wake up feeling amazing, and the next your feelings will be different and it will have nothing to with you. Some days you just wake up feeling better than others. On those days when sometimes the urge to go out there and get stuff done just doesn’t feel as strikingly necessary as yesterday.


Procrastination and self-doubt are two of the biggest killers of dreams and goals. Have you ever been there? If left unchecked and unresolved in your life, this cycle of procrastination and self-doubt will soon become a habitual downward spiral where you can go for months without having produced any substantial results towards the goals. Eventually you’ll just give up on the entire goal altogether, leaving the hopes and dreams you had associated with that goal to be delayed even longer.Procrastination can be overcome. We can short-circuit our natural impulses to delay tasks, and direct our minds towards being productive and proactive.

Here are my 7 best tips for overcoming this goal-killing self-perpetuating cycle of self-doubt and procrastination:

Implement a few of the strategies below and I assure you that you will find yourself living a life of success and prosperity:


1. Confront self-limiting beliefs and perceptions

Discover Why You Are Procrastinating. Find the root of what is making you procrastinate in the first place. Is it self-sabotage? Is it fear? Once you create an awareness around why you are procrastinating in the first place, that knowledge makes it easier to make changes, and recognise when you’re doing it in the future and bring yourself back into focus. Without this level of self-awareness, you’ll be almost totally powerless to overcome the negative forces of self-doubt and procrastination once they start gaining momentum in your life. Know that you have the awesome creative ability to observe, evaluate, and correct your own thinking patterns and personal habits from this higher perspective.


2. Create a To-Do List with Specific Deadlines

Making a to-do list is simple. You organize everything you need to do in the immediate future in an order that makes sense to you. This will make your workload seem much more manageable. INow, you’ve now have a guide to help you get through the work, pointing toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

But a to-do list filled with tasks is not enough. It’s important to add specific deadlines to your tasks. This will help you build a sense of momentum. When you know that step one needs to be finished by noon, this sense of urgency will help propel you forward. You’ll finish one task after another and learn how you work best.

Identify the first step. Sometimes we’re just daunted by the task we’re avoiding. We might have “Write a Book” on our to-do list, but who can slot that into the average afternoon? The trick here is to break down big, tasks into baby steps that don’t feel as effortful. Even better: identify the very smallest first step, something that’s so easy that even your present-biased brain can see that the benefits outweigh the costs of effort. So instead of “Write Book” you might decide to “Write Chapter headings.” Achieve that small goal, and you’ll feel more motivated to take the next small step than if you’d continued to beat yourself up.


3.Your Best Time Of Day

The deadline is looming. You know that you have a list of things you need to tackle, but you can’t seem to find the mental energy. Or, perhaps you settle in to work on a project, only to find a myriad of distractions keeping you from getting anywhere.
Knowing how and when you work best can eliminate the problem of procrastination and lack of focus. Determine what time of day you do your best thinking or are most creative. Avoid booking meetings during those hours if possible, so that you can maximise your productivity and focus. Staying in your flow will increase performance and productivity.
There really is such a thing as being either a morning, afternoon, or evening person. Find the hour that makes you feel at your very best, at your most optimal mode of functioning, and set aside the time to do your most urgent and demanding tasks then.



I think I’ll just check the news, or my Instagram feed for a bit. That brief lapse and redirection of your attention could very well stretch out into another full hour of non-productivity. Our devices offer a myriad of distractions, whether it’s email, social media, or texting with friends and family. This is especially difficult as our work becomes more ambiguous and unstructured (two triggers of procrastination).
When you notice yourself using your device to procrastinate, disconnect. Sometimes when I’m writing, I go as far as to put my phone in another room, and shut off the WiFi on my computer.
This may sound drastic, and it is. Disabling digital distractions ahead of time gives you no choice but to work on what’s really important.
Your brain will look for reasons to pull away from that important and demanding task; don’t give it an opportunity to do so.


5. Reward yourself

Celebrate small victories for having completed your tasks. The reward may be a short conversation with a colleague, a stroll to a nearby café for a coffee pick-me-up, or maybe a larger reward such as treating yourself to a movie after work. Let your brain know that you will reward it for focusing and being attentive.


6. Don’t punish yourself

We will still end up procrastinating on occasion. It happens to the best of us. Don’t punish yourself when you do. Re-evaluate your goals, do a bit of self-reflection on the times in which you work your best, and try again. Cut yourself a little slack.


7. Don’t try to be perfect

Perfectionism is the partner-in-crime to procrastination. “I won’t start because it won’t be perfect.” Wanting to do a good job is great, but striving for perfection rarely helps.
Paralysis by analysis occurs when we absolutely must have every single instance of information before making decisions.

How much has procrastination and self-doubt affected you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

There’ll be times where you think “What’s the point?” What’s it all mean?

That’s that negative self-talk you have play in your mind when you sit down to work on your passion. Your brain tells you “Who’s listening anyway? What’s the point?”

That doesn’t mean you give up…


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Phil Adair

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Best, Phil