Procrastination: The weaker self as an imaginary dog
The Germans call the weaker self "pig dog". A creature that keeps us from doing our tasks. Photo: javier brosch | fotolia.com

How to avoid procrastination: A simple guide

Actually you wanted to go for a run and clean the place up. But your inner weaker self keeps you from doing it. We’ll show you, how to avoid procrastination and become more productive.

You had a lot planned for today. You wanted to do some sport, study, clean the house and complete the tax return. But now that it’s time to start, you can think of a thousand things that magically keep you from getting started.

The weather is the best today and you’re not doing so well either. So better postpone it until tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow or in 2 years.

To us, these supposed reasons sound quite plausible. No wonder, they give us a welcome reason not to have to do our unloved task immediately. This is called procrastination.

Our excuses sound most believable when we talked them into ourselves.

Ernst Ferstl

From a purely scientific point of view, it is nothing more than a weak will. So we simply lack the self-discipline to do the tasks that we don’t really feel like doing when they should be done.

Procrastination prevents many from achieving their goals
Procrastination: When nap is more attractive than your own plans

Sure, some things are in fact hardly fun for anyone and do not bring you any noticeable benefit, such as the aforementioned tax return. But things look different with projects such as studying, reading or starting a diet. Here you would have a real and also visible advantage and still you don’t do it. But how to avoid procrastination? You can implement the following tips immediately.

How to avoid procrastination: 5 simple tips

Be honest to yourself!

First of all, you should admit to yourself in the future if you make any excuses to yourself. Of course, this also applies if other people point this out to you. Everyone knows such struggles with the inner self and you don’t become a bad person because of it. On the contrary: you sharpen your senses and learn to be self-critical.

It is important that you stop talking nicely to yourself excuses for as long as you believe them. Be honest with yourself: why are you not at work or not doing sports? Do you really have a real reason or just not in the mood?

Structured and organized work

Just knowing what you want to do today or tomorrow is rarely enough to reliably complete all tasks. After all, these are only vague projects that want to be implemented. Without a time limit and without any commitment. What you need, however, are real goals, such as those worked out with the SMART method.

Get used to writing down what you want to do the next day in the form of a to-do list the evening before. It is best to include the time and duration so that you reserve this period of time.

By doing this, on the one hand you conclude a kind of contract with yourself and on the other hand you know exactly what to do the next day. So no time to laze around.

Name the procrastination

The Germans affectionately refer to procrastination as “their inner pig dog”. Be creative. A weaker self needs a suitable name – for example Karl-Gustav. Do like the Germans. In the future, just imagine him as an old, lame dog, trotting next to you and wanting to keep you from your goals.

With this idea in your head, you will perhaps ask yourself three times in the future whether you seriously want to keep yourself away from him from anything and also trot in front of you. You can of course also reverse the principle and turn your weaker self into a crazy terrier who wants to scare you around the corners every day. Depending on which variant helps you better.

Think right

Sure, you can think for a long time about why you are not productive again today or why you have little desire. And believe us, you will find enough reasons too. But unfortunately this is exactly the wrong direction, because it only confirms yourself.

Instead, in the future, try to do it the other way around and think about why you should do it after all. Maybe for a potential raise, a better figure, or just to prove to yourself that you’ve got it.

Find a buddy!

If you do sport regularly or, for example, attend a course, you probably already know this from yourself: With a training partner by your side, you will get yourself up even when you don’t feel like it. Be it because your partner encourages you or because you don’t want to turn him down.

So consider if someone could help you with your goals. Is there someone who can learn or train with you? Can your boyfriend or girlfriend support you? In another article we have already written about how important the right approach is for your own inner attitude. So try to gather a group of people around you who will motivate you and support you in your goals.