How to Stop Procrastinating Now: 3 Easy Mind Hacks

Learn how to stop procrastinating

Have you ever alphabetized your entire bookshelf instead of doing something more pressing? Then you know procrastination is not the same thing as being lazy.

Simply put, procrastination means putting things off until later knowing there are long-term negative consequences. You know there are things that need to be done now, but you engage in a different task instead. 

Ready to quit wasting time on things that distract you? You can learn how to stop procrastinating by understanding the psychology of your behavior. 

Why Do People Procrastinate? 

Procrastination happens when you’re unable to regulate your mood effectively. It’s used as a coping mechanism induced by negative feelings. You might procrastinate due to insecurity, frustration, boredom, or anxiety.

Putting important things until later is an example of present bias. We are willing to accept a smaller reward right now versus a larger reward in the future. 

People who procrastinate are more likely to experience very high levels of stress. As a result, they fall out of tune with their self-awareness. They begin to look for short-term solutions to problems. 

Procrastination becomes a cycle of self-sabotaging behavior. You must actively stop stress from hijacking your brain to overcome procrastination. 

So stop arranging your vinyl collection in chronological order to avoid your responsibilities. Try these research-based tips instead and be more productive. 

How to Stop Procrastinating with 3 Easy Mind Hacks 

These proven strategies target your emotional regulation rather than your time management skills. So prepare to self-reflect with these research-based tips on how to stop procrastinating.

1. Increase your self-awareness

The first step to breaking the habit of procrastination is to check in with yourself. Build your self-awareness up by taking time each day to disconnect and reflect. 

What is your stress level like? What are the underlying emotions that are likely driving you to procrastinate? 

Go deeper than “I’m bored” and see what powerful emotions lurk beneath the surface, like shame or fear of failure. You can find healthy ways of dealing with these feelings that also bring you a sense of joy. 

For example, some people find meditation helps soothe anxiety. Others prefer to exercise or do yoga. These are “tools” you can turn to when you start feeling negativity towards yourself. 

2. Forgive yourself. 

Actively practice forgiveness and self-compassion. Try journaling to practice gratitude and kindness. 

If you catch yourself in self-deprecating, negative self-talk, pause and reflect. Challenge your thoughts to see if they’re really true. If your mind is dreading a painful task, try asking yourself, but what if this task wasn’t so hard? 

For many years, I maintained a strict schedule when it came to working out at the gym. But there were days when I was tempted to procrastinate. After some self-reflection, I realized I was motivated by painful, self-deprecating thoughts. If I don’t go to the gym today I’ll get fat and ugly. 

It worked in the short term but led to unnecessarily harsh, anxiety-inducing workouts. Instead, I’ve learned to focus on the positive rather than avoiding pain. I now think about the gym as a way to improve my health while also acknowledging that it’s okay to skip a day if my body is tired. Eventually, I was able to detach my self-worth from whether I chose to work out. 

As part of my journey, I had to learn to practice more self-compassion. Research shows that self-compassion decreases psychological distress, boosts motivation, and increases feelings of self-worth. This makes you less likely to procrastinate in the future. 

3. Cut Temptations and Create Rewards

What are the biggest time wasters in your life? Many of us fall victim to the temptation to scroll social media. If that’s the case, delete those apps from your phone or try apps that help decrease usage

On the other hand, make your replacement behaviors easier. If you’re not a morning person, program your coffee machine to start percolating just before you wake up. This way, you can skip the step of setting it up and start caffeinating as soon as you roll out of bed.

Do whatever it takes to stop procrastinating and start getting things done. Lay out your gym clothes the night before. Meal prep for the week. Whatever your obstacles, do anything in your power to remove them. 

Reward yourself for the things you’re able to accomplish. Celebrate your progress by gifting yourself with moderate things that bring you joy. 

It seems challenging while in the moment, but if you want more time to do the things you want, then get those things done first. Use the above three emotional regulation techniques to overcome the negative cycle of emotions. 

Now that you know how to stop procrastinating, it’s time to get things done that you’ve been putting off. 

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