How to stop procrastinating

An article from Jamie Turner
– Randy Wolgemuth

Do you procrastinate? 

If so, then you’re like most people. 

In fact, according to research from, 88% of workers procrastinate at least 60 minutes a day. 

Would you like to stop procrastinating?

If so, then let’s start by unpacking why you procrastinate in the first place.

One reason is that you believe that motivation leads to action.

In other words, you believe you need to feel a sense of urgency before you can actually start working.

Actually, the reverse is true – motivation doesn’t lead to action. Instead, action leads to motivation.

By taking action, even when you feel unmotivated, a sense of motivation and energy will eventually take over and propel you forward.

Think about that for a second. Motivation doesn’t lead to action. Instead, action leads to motivation.

By taking action, even when you feel unmotivated, a sense of motivation and energy will eventually take over and propel you forward.

I call this Motivation by Movement – when you move and take action, motivation will follow.

Another reason some people procrastinate is that they grew up in a household with a lot of chaos.

The theory is that people who grew up in chaos store their energy in anticipation of a new round of chaos.

In other words, they train themselves into inaction as a way to have the energy for more chaos.

It takes a little bit of effort to work your way out of that dynamic, but by understanding the source, you’ll be able to deal with it better moving ahead.

Okay, let’s move on to 5 ways you can avoid procrastination, many of which I came across on an excellent blog post on the Science of People website.

Tip #1: Create a NOT to do list.
This is a counter-intuitive idea, but it can be a game-changer.

Your list can include things like:

• Do not open your emails
• Do not read your texts
• Do not check social media
• Do not … well, fill in the blank.

By creating a NOT to do list, you can minimize the sideways energy that goes into unproductive tasks.

Tip #2: Work in 90-minute sprints
The U.S. Army conducted research that indicates people have more focus and energy when they work in 90-minute sprints followed by 15- or 20-minute breaks.

When you work in a 90-minute sprint, you’re able to stay focused, work quickly, and then reward yourself with a 15-minute break.

Tip #3: Go public with your goal
This is one that I learned from Tony Robbins who said that one of the best ways to stay motivated is to have an accountability partner.

Your accountability partner can be anyone who will hold you to your task.

I’ve found that my best accountability partners are people who I would be embarrassed to fail in front of.

For you, that might mean your boss, or a family member, or anyone who can motivate you on both a conscious and sub-conscious level.

Tip #4: Find out when you do your best work
A study by Jennifer Ackerman found that our brains are most alert 2 and a half to 4 hours after waking up.

This is the time of day when your brain is on steroids and doing its best work.

A lot of people do menial tasks when they first get to the office – they clean out their inbox, they get organized, they do things that don’t move the ball forward.

But those first precious hours are your best – so do your most important work earlier in the day. By doing so, you’ll get more done in less time.

Tip #5: Tie your to do list to your dreams
When we write down something on our to do list, it can feel like a burden.

For example, “write today’s blog post” or “finish the report” can seem like a pain in the *ss.

But studies show that when we tie a goal to a dream, we’re more likely to complete it. In other words, instead of thinking about writing a blog post as a to do item, think of it as the first step towards a bigger dream.

For example, writing the blog post will lead to a bigger following which will lead to more speeches which will lead to more revenue which will lead to more time with your family, trips abroad, or whatever.

By connecting your to do items to a dream, it’s much easier to get off your rear end and get started on things.

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