Health & Wellness Mental Health Over 50s Lifestyle

Overcoming procrastination – Strategies to help you start the new decade with a clean slate

December 10, 2019
Overcoming Procrastination

Do you procrastinate? You need or want to do something but keep putting it off. You start to feel guilty because you aren’t ticking off the box as completed and it starts to morph into something that you just can’t or don’t want to deal with. Sound familiar?

Procrastination has come to visit me lately as I work through my studies for my Fitness Certification. You may have read about my struggles in Sometimes You Just Need a Kick up the Butt. I’ve also been procrastinating with the blog, not feeling inspired yet not making the time to really find inspiration.

Procrastination is such a waste of our precious time!

I do not like procrastination as I’ve always been one to get in and just get it done. Doing the jobs I don’t like first so they are out of the way. Writing lists and enjoying crossing off the items as I finish them.

Procrastination does not sit well with me and so it was a gentle reminder to give procrastination the flick when I saw the image below on the Ageless Spirit Endless Beauty Facebook page.

Although the topic is about diet it could be about any goal we face. We want it but we just don’t have the willpower, courage, inclination (insert your own word) to make it happen. So we allow procrastination to set in and use her as an excuse and excuses are so easy, aren’t they?

I opened my Inbox and found an email from Thrive Global about Reframing our Mindset. The sub headings throughout the article were “I’m stuck”, “I’m dreading the week ahead”, “I will never get this done’. All feelings or thoughts that I have recently experienced.

How do I overcome my procrastination and just get through to the other side?

I decided to google ‘Procrastination’ and this article from the Centre for Clinical Intervention popped up. It outlines strategies we can use to stop procrastination in it’s tracks. I’ve given a brief precis of the strategies below.

Strategies to overcome procrastination

1. Gain clarity

  • Write a ‘To Do’ list,
  • Prioritise the tasks, break each task into smaller chuncks or ‘microsteps’
  • Accurately estimate how much time each step will take and write the time next to it

2. Making the task easier

There are several options you can use and I plan to write more about this in a future post.

  • Worst-first – get the worst job done fist so everything else seems easier
  • Use Momentum – I like this idea – Start doing the task you enjoy and energises you. Then without a break switch to a task that you have been putting off.
  • Just 5 minutes – plan to spend just 5 minutes on the task. After 5 minutes reassess and see if you want to continue for another 5 minutes.  In most cases, you will find that you continue.
  • Set time limits – be specific about how long you will spend on your task e.g. 30 minutes, and stop after that time. 
  • Know your Prime time – work out the best time of day when you feel energised
  • Know your Prime place –  where will you be least distracted
  • Remember-then-do – as soon as you think about a task try to do it
  • Reminders – set reminders
  • Visualise – keep your Why in focus
  • Focus – practice deep breathing and then go back to the task
  • Plan Rewards

3. When Can I do it?

Plan – use a timetable to schedule or unscheduled your week.

Finding strategies to help overcome obstables in our life will enable us to enjoy our life to the full.

Are your procrastinating over something at the moment? Do you want to go into a new decade with jobs half completed? Why not try some of these strategies today and start the new decade with a clean slate full of possibilities?

Overcoming Procrastination

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31 Comments

  • Reply Retirement Reflections December 10, 2019 at 09:26

    Hi, Sue – Thank you for sharing this with us. I have been missing your posts.
    My problem usually isn’t procrastination — it’s the opposite of procrastination, i.e. feeling that I need to do everything on my list as soon as it lands there. I believe that both extremes, procrastination and its opposite, can be equally problematic. Your strategies for dealing with procrastination sound excellent. For me, I’m going to try to take this holiday to procrastinate on jobs that aren’t urgent and to spend unhurried time with family and friends….oh and to loaf as well. Wish me luck!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:49

      Thanks Donna, I’ve been missing the blogging but just haven’t felt the mojo. Hopefully that is starting to come back as I tick some items of my study list. I feel like I need to get in and tick things off the list as soon as I make it but when I’m feeling tired I just can’t be bothered and so procrastinate. Have a beautiful time with family and friends and I will be taking your advice and doing the same over the holidays. xx

  • Reply Denyse Whelan December 10, 2019 at 14:13

    So relevant to many of us. I applaud you for not only identifying the ‘what’ but actually doing something about it. Too often procrastination is paralysing. I learned more about it in the years when anxiety and grief was part of my learning how to adjust to all the changes in my life (2014-May 2017) but did not realise it was FEAR that was the cause..yep, good old doubt and fear. The learning I had to do to get myself to Sydney for cancer treatments etc was that they were non-negotiable..I literally had to do them and by that I now have a self-talk that sounds like this…”oh, don’t want to start? don’t want to do…you know what this means? Yes, you have to start and you have to do and you know it will be better once you have” Works for me. Glad to know the ‘break’ has given you pause for thought though. Sometimes we “need” that too. Denyse x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:52

      Procrastination is paralysing, Denyse and when I’m feeling tired or overwhelmed this feeling just takes over. I’m taking time off from now until January and really having a good rest to find my mojo again. xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris December 10, 2019 at 19:22

    I’m so happy to see you back writing Sue and can relate to your words so much! I also agree with Donna I sometimes have the opposite problem with so much to do and then feeling overwhelmed and not doing any of it! I think that’s a form of procrastination too. I liked the ideas in your post especially thinking of your prime time and place – it’s good to look at when is best for you to tackle those jobs on the to-do list. Keep going and thanks for sharing your thoughts and being honest with us. I laughed at the cartoon too so thanks for the smiles 🙂 Take care xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris December 11, 2019 at 06:51

      I’m back for #mlstl Sue and have shared your post 🙂 Hope all is well.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:53

      Thanks Deb, blogging is a bit up and down for me at the moment as you know. I liked the idea of the prime time and place too and found that it really works. Glad I also brought some smiles to you. Have a great time with Dottie! xx

  • Reply Nancy Andres December 11, 2019 at 05:51

    Pinned this very helpful post about overcoming procrastination. If I’m not making progress on something and resist moving forward, I speak about it to a friend. That way I get clear about why I’m stalling. It also makes me feel more accountable to her and me. Love your tip to plan rewards. I’m all for that! Happy Holidays Sue and a Blessed New Year.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:54

      Thank you for pinning, Nancy and your idea of speaking to a friend is a great one. Sometimes it does help when we talk to others because they can help us find clarity. Happy Holidays to you and have a wonderful 2020. xx

  • Reply Bree December 11, 2019 at 06:28

    This has to be one of the best posts I have read in a while. We all put things off till tomorrow and as we know tomorrow will always be “tomorrow”. Our house is an old beach house no storage space, no garage or carport to put things in. Not even a laundry cupboard or linen cupboard. So things get left lying around. One bedroom – my housemates is quite large so often the vacuum cleaner and steam mop etc etc get put in his room along with everything else that doesn’t have a home to go to. So On Sunday we did just what you wrote about. We cleaned up moved and chucked out and did it over the day. We did small amounts – me with my chronic illness’s and he with his still bad knees from his accident back in Feb. We treated ourselves to games of darts or watching darts. Took the dogs to the beach. Thank you for this post xx #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:55

      Oh thank you Bree, your opening comments have made my day as lately my blogging mojo has been missing. I’m so pleased that you found the post useful and I bet you both felt a sense of satisfaction once it was all ship shape again. Glad you rewarded yourself with a game and also a walk along the beach. xx

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee December 11, 2019 at 07:12

    I like that quote about the hill to climb not getting smaller…#MLSTL (That said, Xmas is not the time to ruin with worrying about food and drink…too many parties and too much socialising to enjoy!)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:56

      Oh I’m with you Lydia, Xmas is a time to enjoy with family and friends. The New Year is a new start and we can make changes then. Life is too short not to enjoy these special times. xx

  • Reply Natalie December 11, 2019 at 08:04

    Thank you, Sue, for sharing this with us. I’ve used some of the strategies that you mentioned e.g. set time limits, visualize, focus. They work for me. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:57

      Thanks Natalie, you always seem so serene so something must be working! Have a beautiful day my friend. x

  • Reply Faye Stevenson December 11, 2019 at 10:58

    Hi Sue, my middle name is procrastination when it comes to trying to clear out the clutter in the many cupboards. Things I no longer use that should be diced always seem to be too valuable or I might need them in the future. You name it, I can always think of a reason to leave them hidden in the cupboard.
    Out of sight, out of mind is my mantra. Leanne is always happy to remind me to get decluttering, but telling and doing are two different things. Maybe in the New Year or when it gets cooler!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:59

      Hi Faye, my MIL had kept everything she ever owned and when she moved to aged care at 90 years old it took me six months to de-clutter. That certainly was a lesson for me. It is a big job and one that is definitely in the procrastination box but once you have done it you feel a sense of satisfaction. Perhaps one room at a time 🙂 xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au December 11, 2019 at 11:17

    Procrastination really hits us when we’re feeling a bit worn down and weary doesn’t it Sue? I’ve found that I have so much less on my to-do list these days so procrastination hasn’t been a problem for me. This has actually been a great reminder to not swamp myself with activities that are all good in themselves, but when put together become a bit overwhelming. I think you’ll find your non-procrastination mojo coming back as you tick a few more things off your list xx
    Thanks for co-hosting another great MLSTL party with me and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:47

      Yes, that is it, BBB, when I’m feeling tired I just can’t be bothered and everything becomes a chore. I’m starting to tick off my assignments so that has been a huge weight lifted (no pun intended LOL:)) xx

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle December 11, 2019 at 12:43

    I am the Queen of procrastination Sue! It depends what the task is of course but yes…I procrastinate and put things off. I also have times that I lose inspiration for the blog. It usually means I need a break from it, so maybe it’s the same for you. Good luck with your Fitness Certificate. I know you’ll get it done and do it well. xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:46

      Hi Min, I think you share that title with many of us! It is good to hear that others lose inspiration for blogging at times and I suppose I really do understand that it is a reality and not something that I’m just suffering from. Thanks for your best wishes and have a lovely weekend. xx

  • Reply jo December 11, 2019 at 19:40

    If Min is the Queen of procrastination then I’m her lady in waiting! I can write a to-do list and cross things off in a hurry, but then find the things I really didn’t want to do are still winking at me a week later. This time of year, everything seems to need doing all at once. I should right this minute be in the garden attacking the blimmin’ African black beetles which are munching the lawn! #Pinned

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:44

      Hi Jo, I think we are all like that – we love the crossing off the list but still seem to leave the jobs that aren’t appealing. Have a lovely weekend and I hope you enjoy your garden. x

  • Reply Jennifer December 11, 2019 at 20:57

    My name is Jennifer and I’m a recovering procrastinator. I used to be an expert in this. I literally put everything off until the last possible day and then scrambled my ass off to complete something the day before it was due. But it was awful for me physically and emotionally. Slowly, I learned different techniques to work on things. First, I need to create a list each day. Then I need to work the list, sometimes using techniques like the Pomodoro Technique where you set a timer for 25 minutes, work on your task, and when the timer goes off you take a 5-minute break.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:43

      I love your opening line, Jennifer! I also like the Pomodoro Technique although I never knew the name. Timing and taking breaks is very helpful in breaking up a job, especially one that needs to be done but we don’t enjoy doing it. x

  • Reply Candi Randolph December 11, 2019 at 23:59

    Hi Sue, I loved the list and article you highlighted. So many useful tips. Now all I have to do is not just read them, but put them into action. I’m not the worst procrastinator ever, but sure could use some motivation. Thanks! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:42

      Hi Candi, thank you and I’m pleased that you found the tips useful. We really do know how to overcome procrastination but every now and then we just need a reminder. Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Christina Daggett December 13, 2019 at 02:25

    Hi Sue. I think these are all great ideas if the task is something we have to do. Sometimes I think we procrastinate because we really just don’t want to do something and if that’s the case, why are we doing it? Life is too short to be doing things that we really don’t want to do. Happy Holidays Sue, and best of luck with your fitness certification.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:40

      Hi Christina, you make a great point about procrastinating because we don’t want to do something but probably pride prevents us from just saying ‘why are we doing it?’. Life is too short and I’m learning that the world doesn’t end if I decide to change my plans. Happy holidays to you and thank you for your good wishes. xx

  • Reply Bethany December 14, 2019 at 13:22

    I love the tips! I find it helpful to have one “anti-procrastination” day each week, where I make a list and commit to getting it done. I takes some muscle, but it has reduced my stress level so much!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2019 at 08:38

      An anti-procrastination day is a great idea, Bethany thanks for sharing that tip with me and have a fabulous weekend. x

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