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How to Stop Procrastinating

Everyone knows the danger of procrastination. We've all heard it before; if we don’t stop procrastinating, sooner or later we’ll turn everything into "tomorrow’s task" and it will continue indefinitely until it's completely forgotten and forsaken in the end.

This post is for the lazy people out there like me who finally realize that there is a dire need to stop procrastinating once and for all, or live an eternal life as an under-achiever, but who are still having trouble taking action. These few steps will help you move away from procrastination and make progress towards taking action.

#1 Make it a conscious choice.

Are you procrastinating consciously or subconsciously? If you are doing it subconsciously, it has become your habit already; your everyday life is an adaptation of Bruno Mars’ lazy song – not good. What you need to do: Make procrastination your conscious choice.

Make your decisions in advance, well before it is time to do it. For example: Remind yourself that you’ll need to do what-you-need-to-do in 5 hour’s time (or in a day’s time, etc.), then ask yourself if you would like to just go ahead and do it at the intended time, or would you prefer to delay it to a later date or time.

If you want to choose to postpone, go ahead. I’m not saying it’s wise to choose to procrastinate, but it is wiser to choose consciously than to succumb helplessly to it. This way, you’re at least fully aware that you’re doing it out of your own freedom of choice, and just as easily, you can choose consciously NOT to procrastinate (when you're ready).

#2 Eliminate excuses.

If you are constantly putting things off because you have an endless list of excuses, then you need to raise your level of consciousness in order to adopt a behavior that accepts only sensible reasons as the cause of your decision in procrastinating, and not let mindless excuses dictate your decision.

You may think it’s not as important as it seems so you could just delay, but do you really have something else more important to do right now? I bet you don’t. Use your reason in determining what is more important and focus your attention on it; everything else is a distraction.

You may think it’s not worth the trouble to do it immediately, so therefore you choose to postpone. But will postponing be worth it? i.e. If you procrastinate, will the troubles that is created from procrastination itself be worth it? At best you’ll delay it to a later date, but you’ll still have to deal with it anyway; at worst you’ll never achieve anything and be a failure for life. So is procrastinating really worth it?

#3 Shift your mindset.

When you’re negative, it’s easy to procrastinate. Everything is perceived in a negative light; outstanding outcomes are seen as mediocre results; wonderful opportunities are seen as deadly threats, and just about all good things are seen as nothing, and nothings seen as bad things. All these can lead to procrastination.

Shift your perspective and change your mindset. Be positive, not the "Oh… everything’s so wonderful, life’s so beautiful" kind of ignorant positivity, just the kind that decides to look past negativity and take action. "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Don’t think what you’re going to succeed? Don’t think it’ll be worth it? Don’t feel like doing it? Do it first, think about all that later. You can’t be sure it’s impossible until you take the first step, you can’t be sure that you’ll fail until you make an attempt, you can’t be sure it’s not worth it until you try it, and you can’t be sure you won’t like it until you do it.

#4 Determine what needs to be done.

When you don’t know what to do, it’s easy to put it off. It can be like, "I want to start a new project that can supplement my existing income" or "I want to get out of debt and stay out of debt" but I don’t know what to do so I’m not going to do anything until I know what to do.

Do you see the problem?

You don’t know what to do so you don’t do anything. But if you don’t do anything, you’re never going to know what to do - it’s an endless loop of doom. Don’t trap yourself in that. In this situation, instead of putting them off, you should get busy and do everything it takes to find out what needs to be done so you can get to where you want to be.

Instead of thinking "I don’t know how to do this", start thinking "Where can I learn how to do this?". In the process of learning and determining what needs to be done, it is a ‘do’ in itself and you’re no longer procrastinating.

A word of caution: Don’t go bonkers trying to determine what needs to be done. As mentioned previously in my planning post: Whatever your plans are, it will need to be dynamic to work so forget the details, just layout a general direction and proceed to the next step.

#5 Take action.

You know this, I know this, we all know this. As soon as we start taking action, we stop procrastinating. The first 4 steps gear you towards taking action, and this step is the crucial one – it all boils down to whether you take action or not. Sad but true, many fail here; even the smartest, brightest and those with much potential for success can fail because they didn’t take action.

The chain of preparation has led you from choosing consciously NOT to procrastinate, to the elimination of all excuses, to the shifting of your mindset to a "do-first-and-we’ll-see-what-happens-later" attitude and down to determining what needs to be done. There’s simply no need to think anymore at this point; just ride the wave, work your muscles and do what you need to do.

• Start now, not later
• Do it immediately, not afterwards
• Make it instantly, not in a while
• Execute at once, not soon
• Begin right away because you’re ready

Closing Notes:

Make a conscious decision – regardless of what your decision is. Eliminate all excuses by raising your consciousness. Shift your mindset and decide to do first, make judgments later. Determine what you have to do, especially when you don’t know what to do. Finally, take action and just do it. You've already covered everything else.

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