The Power of Mindfulness in Overcoming Procrastination

Krgoswami
11 min readMay 6, 2023
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“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”

- Christopher Parker

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or goal, often due to a lack of motivation, discipline, or focus. It can result in feelings of stress, guilt, and frustration, as well as a loss of productivity and opportunities.

You have decided to accomplish a certain task but you are not able to finish it in time because you have lost the zeal for the task and sometimes. You have developed the habit of putting things off until the last minute. Many times you choose short-term pleasure over long-term success. I realized this fact when I was searching for quality topics for my topic writing, I used to surf the internet but many times I used to be busy surfing on topics that were not related to the topic which I had to write. I delayed writing and also tried to check emails or messages of friends on social media. It may be quite possible for you and me to get distracted because some of them release your dopamine. Whether you are an author, organization head of a reputed company, teacher, or student, procrastination is a silent killer for you and me.

I have searched for some of the remedies for eliminating the culprit which is a disaster for our success. Let us see one by one.

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1. Set Clear Goals And Priorities

Setting clear goals and priorities is a critical step in overcoming procrastination. Without a clear idea of what you want to achieve, it can be challenging to stay focused and motivated.

Here are some ways to set clear goals and priorities.

Define your goals

Start by identifying what you want to accomplish. Be specific and break down your goals into smaller, measurable steps. For example, if your goal is to write a book, break it down into smaller steps like creating an outline, writing a certain number of pages per day, or completing a chapter by a specific date.

Identify your priorities

Once you have your goals defined, prioritize them based on their importance and urgency. This can help you focus your time and energy on the most critical tasks first.

Set deadlines

Having a deadline can help motivate you to get started and stay on track. Be realistic with your deadlines and give yourself enough time to complete each task.

Write it down

Write down your goals and priorities and keep them in a visible place. This can serve as a constant reminder of what you want to achieve and help you stay focused.

Review and adjust

Regularly review your goals and priorities and make adjustments as needed. As you make progress, you may find that your priorities shift, or you need to adjust your goals to stay on track.

Setting clear goals and priorities is just the first step. To overcome procrastination, you also need to take action and make progress toward your goals. By breaking down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks, and focusing on your priorities, you can make progress towards achieving your goals and eliminate procrastination.

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2. Break Tasks Into Smaller, Manageable Steps

Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps is a technique that can help you overcome procrastination and make progress toward your goals. When faced with a large or complex task, it can be overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be done at once. Breaking the task down into smaller, more achievable steps can help you approach it in a more manageable way.

Here’s how you can break a task into smaller steps:

Identify the task

Start by identifying the task you need to complete. This could be anything from writing an email to cleaning your bicycle.

Break it down

Next, break the task down into smaller steps. For example, if you need to write a blog, break it down into steps like researching, outlining, drafting, and revising.

Order the steps

Put the steps in order, so you have a clear plan of action. You may want to prioritize the most critical or time-sensitive steps first.

Estimate the time

Estimate how long each step will take. This will help you better manage your time and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Start with the first step

Begin with the first step, and focus solely on that task until it’s complete. Then, move on to the next step and repeat until the task is finished. Once you have seen it from a birds-eye view and then shifted to a worm-eye view, focus on each smaller task and forget about the other smaller area. For instance, when you go to one room to finish a specific task, you switch on the light and finish the task then you come out of the room. You do not attend your next room simultaneously.

Breaking a task into smaller steps can help you approach it more systematically and avoid feeling overwhelmed. It also provides a sense of accomplishment as you complete each step, which can help you stay motivated to keep going.

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3. Use Positive Self-Talk

Using positive self-talk involves consciously directing your thoughts and language toward a more optimistic and productive mindset. Instead of focusing on negative thoughts and excuses, you intentionally choose to focus on positive affirmations and motivation.

Here are some examples of positive self-talk:

Instead of saying “I can’t do this,” say “I can do this, I just need to break it down into smaller steps.”

Instead of saying “I always procrastinate,” say “I have the power to choose to start now and make progress towards my goals.”

Instead of saying “I’m not good enough,” say “I have unique strengths and abilities that I can use to overcome challenges.”

Instead of saying “I’ll never get it done,” say “I’m making progress, and each step brings me closer to completion.”

By reframing negative thoughts into positive ones, you can shift your mindset towards a more optimistic and productive state. This can help to increase your confidence, reduce your stress and anxiety, and ultimately help you to achieve your goals.

Using positive self-talk can take practice, but with time and repetition, it can become a habit that helps you to overcome procrastination and achieve success.

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4. Create A Structured Routine

Creating a structured routine means establishing a consistent schedule for yourself that includes dedicated time for work, rest, and other activities. This helps you to develop good habits and reduces the likelihood of procrastination.

Here are some tips for creating a structured routine.

Set specific times for work

Determine when you will work on specific tasks and projects, and stick to those times as much as possible. This might mean blocking off time on your calendar or setting a reminder on your phone.

I am writing these lines during my morning victory hours from 5.30 am to 7.30 am when family members are sleeping.

Include time for breaks

It’s important to take regular breaks to avoid burnout and maintain focus. Decide when you will take breaks, how long they will be, and what you will do during them.

Plan for rest and relaxation

Make time for activities that help you relax and recharge, such as reading, exercising, or spending time with loved ones. This can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent stress and burnout. I have bad news. One of my junior managers at PSU bank was regular in exercise and diet. But one fine day he collapsed on a treadmill at the gym. He is just 38 years old but had a heart attack. Later on, it was found that he used to take only five hours of sleep for the last few months.

Establish a consistent sleep schedule

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This can help regulate your body’s natural rhythms and improve your overall health and well-being.

Prioritize important tasks

Determine which tasks are most important or urgent, and tackle them first. This can help you stay focused and productive, and reduce the likelihood of procrastination.

Creating a structured routine takes time and practice. Start with small changes and gradually build up to a more structured schedule that works for you. Be flexible and willing to adjust your routine as needed, and don’t forget to give yourself some wiggle room for unexpected events or emergencies.

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5. Eliminate Distractions

Eliminating distractions is an important step in overcoming procrastination and improving productivity. Distractions can come in many forms, such as social media, emails, phone calls, text messages, and even the people around us.

Here are some tips to help you eliminate distractions.

Turn off notifications

Disable notifications from social media apps, emails, and messaging apps, so you don’t get distracted by every alert that comes through.

Create a distraction-free workspace

Set up a dedicated workspace that’s free from distractions, such as a quiet room or a desk away from high-traffic areas.

Use noise-canceling headphones

If you need to work in a noisy environment, use noise-canceling headphones to block out distracting sounds.

Use apps to block distractions

There are many apps available that can help you block distracting websites, such as social media sites or news websites, during specific times of the day.

Schedule time for breaks

Taking regular breaks can help you stay focused and prevent burnout. However, it’s important to schedule these breaks so you don’t get carried away and end up wasting too much time.

Communicate with others

If you’re working with others, let them know that you need to focus and avoid distractions during certain times of the day.

Eliminating distractions is an ongoing process that requires discipline and self-awareness. Experiment with different strategies until you find what works best for you. With practice, you can reduce distractions and increase your productivity.

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6. Use Productivity Tools

Productivity tools are software or apps designed to help people stay organized, focused, and productive. These tools can help to eliminate distractions and increase efficiency.

Here are some examples of productivity tools.

Time management tools

These tools help users to manage their time more effectively by setting priorities, creating schedules, and tracking progress. Examples include Trello, Asana, and Todoist.

Distraction blocking tools

These tools help to eliminate distractions by blocking access to certain websites or apps. Examples include Freedom, Cold Turkey, and Stay Focused.

Focus-boosting tools

These tools help to improve focus and concentration. Examples include the Brain.fm, Noisli, and Pomodoro timers.

Note-taking tools

These tools help users to keep track of information, ideas, and tasks. Examples include Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep.

Collaboration tools

These tools facilitate communication and collaboration among teams or groups. Examples include Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.

Email management tools

These tools help users to manage their inbox more efficiently, by filtering emails, scheduling messages, and automating tasks. Examples include Boomerang, SaneBox, and Mailstrom.

Automation tools

These tools automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks, such as data entry, email responses, or social media posting. Examples include IFTTT, Zapier, and Hootsuite.

Using productivity tools can be a great way to increase efficiency and reduce procrastination. However, it’s important to choose the right tools for your needs and to use them consistently. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different tools until you find what works best for you.

In the early days, we used CUI (command user interface), GUI (Graphical User Interface), MUI (Multimedia User Interface) and now almost everybody has sifted to API (Application Programming Interface). Last year I integrated Typeform into Converkit so that data from Typeform can directly be saved in my Converkit database.

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7. Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself is a great way to motivate yourself to complete tasks and avoid procrastination. When you set a goal or complete a task, rewarding yourself can create a positive feedback loop and help you build momentum.

Here are some ways to reward yourself.

Treat yourself to something you enjoy

Whether it’s a favorite snack, a new book, or a night out, rewarding yourself with something you enjoy can give you a boost of motivation and a sense of accomplishment. Whenever I used to upload a good video on my YouTube channel, I used to take an extra glass of green coconut water as it has become my favorite in the last couple of years.

Take a break

If you’ve been working hard, taking a break can be a great reward. Step away from your work and do something relaxing or enjoyable, such as taking a walk or watching an episode of your favorite TV show. Whenever I published my e-book, I always went to the cinema hall and watched a good movie with my family.

Celebrate with others

If you’ve accomplished a big goal or completed a major project, celebrate with friends or family. This can help you feel recognized and appreciated, and can also create a sense of accountability to continue working toward your goals. I always celebrated the occasion and visited a good restaurant in the city when I received the best-seller Amazon tag on my books.

Reflect on your progress

Sometimes the best reward is simply acknowledging your progress and feeling a sense of satisfaction with your work. Take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come, and use that positive energy to motivate you to keep going.

The key to effective rewards is to make them meaningful and motivating to you. Choose rewards that align with your values and interests, and that will help you stay focused and motivated toward your goals.

Eliminating procrastination takes practice and persistence. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up, and keep trying until you find what works best for you.

Conclusion

Procrastination is a common challenge that many people face, but it can be overcome with practice and persistence. By setting clear goals, breaking tasks into manageable steps, eliminating distractions, using positive self-talk, and rewarding yourself for progress, you can avoid procrastination and improve your productivity and overall well-being. Remember, eliminating procrastination takes time and effort, but with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to break free from this habit and achieve your goals.

Takeaways

1. The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy.

2. Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man.

E-book & Paperback, Paperback (India)

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Krgoswami

Former aircraft engineer IAF, Retired Branch Manager SBI, Psychologist, Best Selling Author & Armed Forces Recruitment Trainer https://krgoswami.com