4 Simple Out-of-the-Box Techniques to Beat Procrastination and Get Started

They work whether you’re a perfectionist, unmotivated, make excuses or are easily distracted.

Procrastination is a silent killer.

It lurks in the shadows. It mingles among us and rarely shows its true face. And it has killed more dreams than failure ever will. Then you see the smoldering ashes of what was once your great Goallook back and say “I wish I had.”

But you didn’t. You didn’t work as you promised yourself. You didn’t surprise your partner with the weekend break. You didn’t follow through on the great business idea you had. Instead, you went on YouTube to watch funny videos of cats wearing little sombreros.

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” —Christopher Parker

Realizing you’ve wasted your time, energy, and potential feels like taking a bowling ball to the stomach. Imagine where your life could be instead if you just took that small step a few years ago.

As a former lazy student and current hard-working business owner, I am familiar with the problems of procrastination.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to solving them – you have to think outside the box.

Adopt this mindset if your perfectionism is holding you back

“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before actually doing it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you’ve got and fix it along the way…” – Paul Arden

Your perspective determines your reality. You can see the glass as half full or half empty – the water doesn’t change, but your interpretation does.

I used to be a die-hard perfectionist. But a good intention often meant that I did nothing because the time, place or position of Mercury in relation to the Sun was not right.

Now this is where your perspective comes into play.

Instead of seeing a less-than-perfect result as a waste of time, see it as one version 1.0 – the stepping stone to the best you can be.

My first article was crap. My first reps in the gym were shaky. My first dates were ridiculous at best and terrifying at worst.

But you have to start somewhere.

Even if you don’t have the time, skills, or energy to produce perfection from scratch, you can still do something valuable.

  • Send out a pitch.
  • Read a page.
  • Do an exercise.
  • Meditate for a minute.
  • Eat a healthy meal.

That’s all you have to do.

Once the ball gets rolling, it’s easy to keep the momentum going – and improve along the way.

This powerful realization will get you going if you lack motivation

“Someone should tell us, at the very beginning of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the fullest, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” – Michael Landon Jr.

Here’s a harsh truth:

There is more to explore and experience on this earth than you will have time for.

Especially if you lack the motivation to make shit happen.

But there is no reason for that does not get motivated if you turn the above thought a little further:

You will die – probably before you are ready.

That’s all the motivation you need. I mean, look at the world around you. Look at the endless options and possibilities, all the fun you can have, all the emotions you can feel, all the adventures you can go on. And you want to leave all that on the table because you feel lazy or want to scroll through memes instead?

I know you understand this. At a basic level, you feel the same existential dread as everyone else. Yet your thoughts are often too far away to cause real change – the Netflix special is on right now, your death won’t be for a few decades.

But when you confront the harsh truth of your limited life, it kicks you into gear.

When I feel lazy and unmotivated, I visualize my death. Not in a stomach twisting, wedged in a car wreck kind of way. But imagining myself on my deathbed, falling short of all the things I wanted to achieve and experience because I procrastinated.

It’s not a nice feeling, but it’s a damn good motivator.

Because sometimes you just need a hearty kick in the butt.

How to flip the script if you find excuses

“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but trying to make reality fit one’s feelings.” – Ayn Rand

You can cheat yourself into productivity the same way you cheat yourself into procrastination.

When I went hiking with my dad, I got blisters on my feet because he’s an endurance freak—but I also noticed an interesting pattern.

Anytime you have a long, straight stretch of trail ahead of you, it feels endless. You count steps and fear life choices. But when you walk through a crooked forest path where you can only see about a hundred meters ahead, your perception changes.

It seems much more feasible – all you have to do is go from corner to corner. This is how procrastination works. “Just one more video. Just five more minutes. Just one more snooze.” Three hours pass as you jump from one more to one more.

The cool thing: this also works the other way around.

When you want to quit before you finish, tell yourself “just one more.”

Another page to read. Another line of code. One more exercise.With each “one more,” you not only get more done, but also feel your motivation improve because you overcome your lazy self.

You can easily trick your brain – so do it in a way that benefits you.

How to eliminate all distractions

“When we clutter our lives with imagined obligations, unnecessary activities and distractions that only kill time, we dilute the power of our lives.” – Anne Katherine

Your environment affects you more than you imagine.

Put yourself in a room with healthy people and you want to exercise. Entrepreneurs, you want to build. Weed smokers, you’ll want to roll up and listen to Snoop Dog.

And if you surround yourself with distractions, well…

One notification on your phone is enough to suck you down a digital rabbit hole for hours. But you can eliminate most distractions by using a simple technique called environmental design.

Set your environment to work for you, instead of against you.

  • Put your phone out of sight and reach when you want to work
  • Hide the TV remote and replace it with a book
  • Download a website blocker for your laptop
  • clean up your desk so there is nothing to distract you
  • Configure your WiFi router to turn off at a specific time

The possibilities are endless.

Set up your environment the right way and you’ll put procrastination on autopilot.

Summary to help you beat procrastination

Every day you make a choice.

You choose whether you look back on your life in the future says “I wish I had,” or “I’m so glad I did.”

If procrastination gets the better of you, use one of these four approaches:

  1. If you are a perfectionist: take small steps and submit your first efforts as version 1.0.
  2. If you lack motivation: Remember that you will die and have absolutely no time to waste.
  3. If you’re making excuses: Trick your brain into doing more by cutting your work into bite-sized chunks and telling yourself to just do one more until you’ve done it.
  4. If you are easily distracted: Design your environment with focus and productivity.

“The truly happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the work. They are full of zeal, enthusiasm, productivity. You can be too.”Norman Vincent Peale

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