Ways to Stop Procrastination: Practical Tips from a Life Coach
Updated: Jul 11
Procrastination is a vicious cycle that we all get swept up in at times. But just because procrastination is a common problem that we all face does not mean we are not at fault. You see, this is not exactly the kind of cycle that you get pulled into but a self-perpetuating one, sort of like how someone who focuses on the negatives in life continues to experience negative things - what they see, so to speak, is what they get.
As we continue to fuel this procrastination cycle for various reasons, it can continue on for days, weeks, months, and even years. First, when you put off a task, it leads to guilt and self-loathing, which prompts anxiety and stress; then, we say we will accomplish it later, which provides us a sense of relief, which becomes our excuse to avoid it.
The short answer to procrastination would be just to do it. But from my years as a life coach in Denver, I have learned that we each have varying components or mental roadblocks in our procrastination cycles - certain fears of failure or change that keep us from moving forward.
You could easily search online for ways to stop procrastination and find some great advice. But the difference in implementing tips from a life coach is that I look at each client from a holistic perspective. So the following tips are based on and inspired by people I have helped in my time as a life coach in Denver overcome their procrastination. Meanwhile, they also taught me about the self-induced obstacles that hold us back.
Find your energy source
Passion is an active pursuit, and despite what some people may say or make you think, they do not always just come to you. Instead, you have to search and dig deep because acquiring an energy source like passion takes experience.
If you feel like your procrastination stems from a lack of passion or desire, meaning you don’t feel like you have anything to inspire you to be productive in the first place, get out of your comfort zone to try something new.
If you aren’t sure where to start, ask yourself the following questions. Before I became a life coach in Denver, I asked myself the very same ones.
What always piques my interest when I read or hear about it?
What do I love talking to others or teaching them about the most?
What is something I have been wanting to try lately but haven’t yet?
Once you find your passion or something you enjoy, it will act as a natural source for confidence and a guiding light for your choices and actions that follow.
Find your self-worth
If you do not believe you can achieve something, you cannot bring it into existence. If you persistently believe that you do not deserve something, it will determine the degree to which you attract it into your life.
Having a greater sense of self-worth will empower you and give you purpose. But how can you accomplish this?
Practice positive self-affirmations and tell yourself that you matter. Take time throughout your day to remind yourself that you matter. Then, engage in more self-care and show yourself that you do.
Establish your priorities
It may sound contradictory, but multi-tasking is a surefire path to procrastination. When you try to take on too many things at once, chances are you won’t do any of them all that successfully. Or you may become so overwhelmed that you do not do anything at all.
Firmly establishing clear goals and priorities daily is essential to overcoming procrastination. Even if you are someone who plans out their entire week, you should consider revising or rewriting your tasks for the day ahead each morning, as not everything goes according to plan - you may be ahead, behind, or had some new tasks thrown your way since yesterday.
If you would identify yourself as a frequent multi-tasker, it is also important to note that you might be taking on too much. Do not be afraid to say no and set boundaries.
Let yourself be imperfect
You may have heard somewhere before that perfection is paralysis - it keeps you at a standstill. If you spend too much time and energy on one task, it consequently means that you are procrastinating on all others.
Furthermore, perfection is impossible, and I sometimes find myself baffled that the word “perfect” even exists. As a life coach, I sometimes detest that it exists, but it opens up the door for introspection.
If we all have different views of what perfect is, then there could never be a definitive definition. This is one reason why it isn’t worth your time and energy to have idealistic goals or set unrealistic steps to get there. This may come as a surprise to some perfectionists, but the key to building the self-worth and confidence you need to progress is not doing “enough” hard work but believing that your hard work is enough.
With that, I suggest setting clear deadlines for each of your tasks. Work in increments and follow timers – do not spill a task over into the next time slot for something else. If you aren’t done with something, move on - you can wrap it up later. The goal here is to strive for balance. This is the one scenario where I would recommend prioritizing quantity over quality until you see improvements in your procrastination habits.
Adjust your perspective
Many people who procrastinate will do so because they think of their tasks as things they “have” or “need” to do. But in what way do words like this empower us? When everything just feels like chores and things we loathe doing, why wouldn’t we procrastinate?
But the thing we need to realize is that we can turn even the things we love doing into tasks that now we only want to put off, and it all boils down to the way we think about them.
What empowers us the most as human beings is having a choice, and you do have a choice - lots of them. So instead of thinking or saying things like “I need to do this today,” try swapping out that thought with a phrase like, “I choose to do this.” Notice what shifts for you when you do this. This is your way of reminding your mind that you are in control, even if life does not always feel that way.
If you are looking for a life coach in Denver - someone to help you apply these tips and guide you along the way - please reach out.
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Dennis Guyvan, a life coach. He provides individual life coaching sessions in Denver and Chicago, and worldwide via video and phone calls. Schedule your free 30-minute coaching consultation with Dennis Guyvan.