101 Ways to Stop Procrastination and Enhance Productivity
by Cassandra Wilson
Procrastination. We’ve all done it. We start watching an episode of Friends on Netflix and keep clicking the luminous “next” button. We think to ourselves, “No worries, each episode is only 30 minutes!”
Then it’s 3 am and we remember we have a meeting at 8:00 am the next day. So we make a promise to our sleep-deprived selves that we’ll never procrastinate again! Until tomorrow. Like the old Spanish Proverb says, “Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”
Procrastination is a vicious cycle that seems harmless. You + Procrastination + no focus = you’re stressed to the max and can’t get any work done.
Once we start with procrastination, it’s hard to stop. Even worse, sometimes we give ourselves a kick in the butt and actually sit down to do our work…and then we can’t even focus! Yikes. Don’t be fooled, chronic procrastination can stick with you and suck out your productivity that amounts into several years of your life.
But it’s never too late to start kicking bad habits, like procrastination, to the curb.
Here’s the good news! I’ve compiled a super-powered list of 101 Ways to Stop Procrastination and Enhance Focus. In no time you’ll have the tools you need to stop procrastination.
Get ready for self-experimented practical tips to save you from procrastination and sharpen your focus.
If you’ve ever felt that pit in the bottom of your stomach from procrastinating or had to postpone deadlines because you wasted so much time, then join the club. You are exactly how I used to be but it’s never too late to start making changes!
If you read on I’ll teach you how I solved those procrastination issues with these tried and true tips. You can start making the most out of your time and get your work done when you’re supposed to. Just imagine getting your work done on time and not have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you’re supposed to be doing something. When you stop procrastinating and learn to focus on the task at hand, you can ultimately be more relaxed and give your stressed-out body a rest.
Enough blabber! Read on for the goodies…
Practical lifestyle hacks for entrepreneurs, students, lawyers, star wars fans, game of throne fans, business people, and everyone in between!
- Break it down!
Not breaking into spontaneous dancing, though that’s an excellent way to burn calories. I’m talking about breaking down a large project into small steps. Psychologically speaking, you’re more likely to start your task and finish it all if you write it down and check things off of your list as you complete them. Your brain does a little happy dance when you complete a task which propels you to do the next task. Before you know it, you’ve called your mom, washed your sheets, and made meal prep for next week. And you’re happy because your tasks are done sooner rather than later. Check out this study to really learn the science behind it.
- Leave dessert for last…
By that I mean do the hard stuff first. As humans, we get tired and run out of energy at the end of the day and need to recharge. So you need to delegate and do the most important things first that will take up lots of brainpower (or physical power). So make your checklist we talked about in Tip #1, and put the most important things at the top! Leave the easy stuff for later when you don’t have as much energy, it’ll help with your procrastination.
- Don’t put too much on your plate!
Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach, metaphorically speaking. Do you really have to write 12 pages, go grocery shopping, go for a walk with your best friend, hit up a late night spin class, call all of your relatives, and try a new DIY craft all in one day? The answer is usually no. It’s okay to leave things for tomorrow, as long as you do what you need to do today.
- Nourish your body
Do you ever notice that sometimes you procrastinate just because you feel like crap? Take a closer look at your diet. When you’re hungry, do you reach for a bag of chips or some carrot sticks?
Listen, I love to pig out on ice cream and chips. I know that some person telling you on the internet to eat healthy isn’t going to motivate you.
–Keep reading on for some practical tools to get you kick-started on your healthy eating journey. –
- Try Mark’s Daily Apple
What is healthy? Mark Sisson does all of the research and puts it in a website for you. Use Mark’s Daily Apple to give you a completely new blueprint for your life to keep you healthy, happy, and energized well into your 70s and onwards! This website includes tons of free resources to get you started, as well a community of people dedicated to living healthy. Check it out here.
- Bulletproof your mind & body
The Bulletproof Diet is another popular way to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s similar to the Paleo or Zone diet, but it’s more of a blueprint of what you should do to achieve maximum body and mind power. Work on being the best person you can be, eventually getting to the point where you’re bulletproof. Read more about the Bulletproof blueprint here.
- Drink some Bulletproof Coffee while you’re at it
A good introduction to the Bulletproof diet is to start with some Bulletproof coffee. It’s basically high quality coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil. It claims to supercharge you for up to 6 hours! Check it out here. However, there are some mixed reviews…so ultimately decide for yourself. If you want it to work, you need to specifically use grass fed butter and coffee without toxins. You can buy Bulletproof coffee beans or simply do your research to find some high quality, toxin free coffee beans. I personally have tried Bulletproof coffee without the grass fed butter and it didn’t work, so don’t take any short cuts if you want results! Interesting would be if you tried it out yourself and shared your thoughts.
- Exercise your brain…with breathing.
Do you find your mind wandering off during procrastination, thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner instead of the task at hand? Your pre-frontal cortex might need some regular work-outs to keep you focused. Every time you get sidetracked, practice some mindfulness. Realize you got sidetracked, take some deep breaths, and then focus again on the task at hand.
- Tell your friends!
Have a big project due soon and scared of procrastination? Call your friend and tell them you’re going to get it done by such-and-such date. When we think that other people are holding us accountable, we’ll be more likely to follow through on a task. Just like how having a walking buddy can prompt you to take walks more often.
- Join A Community
The subreddit called The X Effect (r/theXeffect) is a group of around 15,000 people who are all determined to minimize procrastination and be more productive. They have their own habit tracking system called The X Effect that basically consists of making a chart of habits you’d like to work on and putting an “x” in a square beside that habit each time you complete it. You can join the subreddit.
- Sleep correctly with Sleepy Time
There’s a correct way to sleep? You bet there is. Ever wake up feeling groggy and completely disoriented? Maybe you woke up in the middle of your sleep cycle. If you wake up between cycles, you’ll generally feel refreshed and recharged even if you didn’t get your full 8 hours of beauty sleep.
Find out when to go to bed or when to wake up with this bedtime calculator.
- Make sure your circadian rhythm is in check.
Let’s be real, telling you to turn off your phone and laptop and not check them before bed doesn’t mean much. Sometimes you just gotta check that text or email. So, make sure you have applications on your phone and computer to mimic natural light based on the time of day. Blue light that’s emitted from electronics keeps you awake and can really mess with your circadian rhythm. Try f.lux for your laptop and Twilight for your phone to mimic natural lighting. Apple just released Night shift to make this happen on your iPhone. It will suck out some of your battery power, but it’ll be worth it. Check it out here.
- Try a time management technique
The Pomodoro technique is one of my personal favorites to break procrastination. Basically, you work for a little then take a little break. Sounds good to me. I’ll give you some tools to complete the Pomodoro technique later in the post.
- Change your lighting
It’s hard to focus when you’re hyper, depressed, or chronically tired. Mood lighting can help you keep relaxed and focused. Try light bulbs with blue light in the afternoon, red/amber light in the evenings, and white light for those times you feel down in the dumps, or if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Light boxes can be pricey, so simply opt for light bulbs and plug them into lamps that you probably already have. You can check out some light bulbs, here at TopBulb. (Why Not 3 does not endorse TopBulb, they simply have a large selection of bulbs to choose from.)
- Write it down
You know you have something to do, yet you are going through procrastination once again. So, take a piece of paper and simply write “I am going to get (your task) done in (20/30/60/etc. mins).” Better yet, write “I am going to get (your task) done in (a reasonable time frame), and if I don’t, I cannot watch Netflix for 4 days (or a similar consequence).” You don’t necessarily have to make a checklist and break your task down. Use this hack for when you have to do something and just can’t seem to get started.
- Set aside some time each day
Every day, set apart a chunk of time to work on something. A big project, answering emails, cleaning, or something else. You can use trackers like The Habit Sheet or the Passion Planner for this. Do you use the Calendar app in your phone? If not, this could be a perfect time to start using it. It’s free and ready to be used!
- Stop messing around
Look, turn off you phone. Close your Facebook, stop watching random YouTube videos. You have to take action for this to work. Remove your distractions and you’ll find yourself procrastinating less. If you’re like me, you know you’ll just turn your phone on again when you want to use it. So turn it off, then go put it somewhere far away from where you’re working.
You removed your distractions, so just start, don’t go into procrastination. Now! Go. It all boils down to you. No trick or biohack will work if you don’t want to help yourself. Although I imagine you do because you’re reading this post. Sometimes the best way to stop procrastination is to simply just start.
- Understand why…
Stop and think about why you’re procrastinating. Is it because you simply don’t want to answer emails, or do you really hate your job? Don’t waste your time doing something you hate. Or maybe you love your job but you’re procrastinating on fulfilling your potential. Either way, understanding the root of the problem can help you come to terms with your procrastination. You’ll need to look within yourself to understand why. Take some time to truly ponder why you don’t want to do the task at hand. You may find it helpful to take a piece of paper and write down what thoughts come into your head whenever you think about your task at hand.
- Change your mood
We all just feel like lying around like a slug, and procrastinate on some days. On these days, you might need a little mood revamp. Go for a run, take a power nap, do some yoga, make a healthy snack. Anything to get your mind out the slump of “doing nothing.”
- Stop complaining
You are in charge on whether or not you procrastinate. If you have too much work to do, then you better get started. Check out Will Bowen’s speech right here where he explains the complaint free world.
- Reach out and ask for help
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. When that happens, we often procrastinate because we don’t know where to start. If a checklist doesn’t help, try asking someone else to do a task. Ask your partner/friend/roommate to help with various tasks like cleaning the bathroom, running to the store, or proofread your business proposal.
- Make a Vision map
What do YOU want? I took a side from a cardboard box and glued pictures and quotes all over it that represented what I wanted out of life. I hung it on my wall and I look at it every time I go through procrastination. What I want from life isn’t going to come from lying in bed and watching TV. However, filling up your procrastination time by visualizing your wealth and your life in the perfect situation can help motivate you to get back to work. I used quotes from my favorite authors such as Warsan Shire and J.R.R Tolkien that have stuck with me over time. You can use quotes that someone special said to you or simply words that have stuck with you. You can find pictures from Google or use Photoshop to create a perfect scene. Personally, I cut the pictures out from old magazines. I glued on all the places I wanted to travel to, experiences I wanted to do, and simply things that made me happy such as a shot of espresso in a rustic French café. When you look at your Vision Map, you can be reminded of what you’re striving for and possibly take some time to re-evaluate your goals.
- Understand you’re not perfect
Every task will be daunting if you think you have to be perfect at everything. Remind yourself that you just have to give everything your best shot. You can excel at something without being a perfectionist. Confucius said, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” In other words, realize that if you fail to do something because you’re a perfectionist, then in the end you simply have nothing at all. If you’ve been working really hard on a project and doing last minute edits for hours, then take a deep breath and just send it in. If you keep tweaking you may miss your deadline and you’ll end up with nothing to show for your hard work. It’s a long process to learn to let things go, so please be kind to yourself along the way. Try not to get upset when you can’t simply let things go, it’s a process and it takes time. The most important thing is that you’re actively trying.
Keep in mind that sometimes “The Perfect is the enemy of the Good.” -Voltaire
- Get a mantra or an affirmation
Repeat a positive phrase to yourself over and over and over. Eventually, you’ll start to believe it. Some examples are: “I am powerful and capable” or “I will not procrastinate and I will be rewarded.” The Founder of Why Not 3 always says, “Sometimes an idea can become a reality.” That’s exactly how Why Not 3 was born. There is great value in repeating something to yourself until it becomes true based on the fact that your mind is very powerful! The fact that this website exists is proof.
- Learn to say no
Sometimes no amounts of checklists, delegating, mantras, and other tips can help you stop procrastination because you’re so overwhelmed with stuff to do. Learn your limits and say NO to people. You don’t have to volunteer at 3 different clubs and join a local sports team. You may not always be able to opt-out or say no to time commitments, so take advantage when you can! With less on your plate, you can focus on what’s important and stop procrastination.
- Adopt the Two-Minute Rule
David Allen suggests a brilliant idea that if something takes you less than two minutes, then you do it immediately before your mind can start to wander. For example, will this email reply take less than two minutes? If yes, then start now and get it out of the way.
- A little friendly competition
This is a little different than just telling a friend about your plans to get stuff done. Find a friend or peer who is willing to have a little competition with you about who can procrastinate the least. Each of you sends each other your to-do list and messages each other each time you finish a task. See who can finish their list first. Do this every day, a few times a week, or whatever works for you. Nobody likes to lose.
- Stop watching TV
Imagine how much you could have gotten done in that 45-minute episode. Yikes, all that time down the drain. Don’t watch TV at all until you’ve done everything you need to do. Or simply throw it away altogether. High performers like Darren Hardy, Anthony Robbins, and many others don’t even have a TV.
- Sticky Notes for bad habits
I procrastinate by eating and cooking. So, I reach for a pile of sticky notes and write “DON’T TOUCH UNTIL YOU DO YOUR WORK!” and place them on goodies in my fridge and cupboards. Do this for anything you have trouble keeping your hands off of.
- Find your groove!
When are you most productive, and procrastinate the least? Is it in the morning? If you’re most productive in the morning, then don’t spend your morning sipping coffee and mindlessly scrolling through Reddit. Use your most productive time to your advantage and then scroll guilt-free through Reddit later in the day.
- Stop multitasking
We humans are exceptionally poor at multitasking, believe it or not. So no, you cannot watch the news and effectively research something at the same time. Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, your brain has a hard time switching from one task to the next. Multitasking is a field that’s been thoroughly researched in psychology and its effects are well documented. This one particular study shows that participants who used their laptop during a lecture to check social networking sites scored lower on memory tasks.
- Don’t work so hard…
Burn-out is a real thing. Success is about balance, not working yourself to the grave. You’ll feel tired and prone to procrastination if you’re working yourself silly. Take a break and think about your priorities. If you haven’t signed up to the email list yet, you might want to consider it, because in there we share the Warren Buffet method on how to set goals in the output from the Why Not 3 workshop.
- You don’t have to finish everything!
Ever read a book that was so awful you don’t know why you read the entire thing? You don’t have to finish something that isn’t worth your time. If a movie sucks, then stop watching it. If a conversation is fruitless, change the topic. Make the best use of your time. It’s called the IKEA-effect (based on a study with IKEA furniture vs. pre-build furniture), this is where people feel obliged to stick with something that they have invested their time and effort in. Knowing this effect exists, will you be able to make more rational decisions as you go through life? Challenge yourself to cut the cords when necessary.
- Make it a game
Sometimes we just have to do tasks that are boring and hold absolutely no value. Like cutting up hundreds of sandwiches for a fundraiser. So I make things like this a game, e.g. “How many sandwiches can I cut in 25 minutes and still keep all my fingers?” It works wonders and is good against procrastination.
- Kick negative thinking to the curb
I know, it’s easier said than done to most. But it makes it that much harder to procrastinate. Be nice to yourself. If you’re having a lot of trouble, try some free positive thinking hypnosis sessions. Joseph Clough is great.
- Realize what you will lose by procrastinating
Be honest with yourself about the outcomes of your procrastination. Try to get by all of your cognitive dissonance and self-affirmations to realize that procrastination stresses you out, makes you less effective, and hurts your dreams and goals. Will you lose comfort for the next day? What about the possibility of a bonus? Your procrastination could be jeopardizing your sales.
- Think about your future…
This is related to Tip #37 with a twist. Yes, you will become stressed and less effective by procrastination. So what does that mean for your future self? You’re dumping loads and loads of unnecessary stress on your future self. Connect with your future self and learn to take care of, well, you! My favorite way to do this is to write a letter to my future self. There is a website called futureme.org where you can send yourself an email. If it’s a short one, you can use boomerang for Gmail.
- Get in character
Sometimes people find they operate better when they’re fulfilling a certain “mode” or identity. Whenever you work out, imagine you’re in your “Health Nut” mode when you go to work, imagine yourself in “CEO” mode. Make up your own modes to fit your lifestyle and attach them to your tasks.
- Just don’t do it!
Crazy right? Mark Shead, Founder of Productivity501 recommends that you just shouldn’t do the task that is inspiring procrastination. If there are no big consequences to skipping a task, then move on to something else on your to-do list. This is for people that have too many things on their to-do list. If you only have 3 really important things on your to do list that you can easily accomplish within a day, then you should do them!
- Align yourself
When something has no value to us, we don’t want to do it. Why would you want to answer emails from your boss at the law firm you work at when you’d rather be working at SpaceX? Make sure your goals and core values are in line with your present tasks or you’re going to have problems getting motivated.
- Kick yourself in the ass
You might be one of those people who just needs some self-discipline. Well, then just get over yourself and do whatever task needs to be done, no matter how painful it is. Self-discipline could very well be the answer for a lot of chronic procrastinators. A good book is the Leader’s Code by Donovan Campbell, in here he talks about the discipline of a leader in the military. It will help you understand discipline and trust from a Marine veteran’s point of view. Semper Fi!
- Make your own blacklist
I do this all the time. Take a piece of paper and make your “not-to-do list.” Write down everything you’re not going to do today. Write down things you do when you’re procrastinating. For me, I write “I will not go to the grocery store.” Or “I will not go online shopping.”
A beautiful planner that helps you organize your passions, goals, and tasks while helping you stay focused and manage your time. The Passion Planner is a concrete planner that you can hold in your hands, for those of you who aren’t into the electronic version of planning.
- Believe in yourself
Believe that you can stop procrastinating and focus. You don’t have to be a person that procrastinates all the time. Believe that you can accomplish great things and be productive.
- Take power naps
Nap for 5, 10, or 20 minutes during procrastination. It makes you more alert, can reduce headaches related to sleep deprivation, and keep you awake to answer some more emails.
- Disconnect during your important tasks
Do not convince yourself that you need to check your email while you’re supposed to be getting ready for a networking meeting. You probably don’t need the internet for a handful of tasks you do during the day. If you don’t know how to disconnect, then you can learn! Learn to disconnect with the silent day we developed here at Why Not 3. Read how in this blog post.
- Treat yo’self
You need to be rewarded for all of your hard work. My rewards are almost always a quick healthy snack. But for larger projects I reward myself with a trip to the cinema or a couple glasses of wine. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s a day touring local museums or a potluck with friends.
“Oh, it will only take about an hour!” We underestimate how long it will take us to do something, so start overestimating the time it will take to counteract this. Be realistic and plan accordingly. It might take you 20 hours to follow up on your new leads, not 5.
- Emergencies happen!
Life doesn’t always go as planned. Leave some extra time in your schedule to make space for those unexpected events. You might need to give a friend a ride somewhere or cover for your coworker. Something more serious might even pop up, such as taking a trip home to be with your family. Whatever happens, you don’t want to be heading into an emergency behind on your work. Stay up to date with your schedule so that you’re not completely overwhelmed if an emergency strikes. This way you’re not too stressed out by the emergency and by not getting everything done on your list. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Have a (small) cup of Joe
Small to moderate doses of caffeine can energize you and keep you focused. High amounts make you jittery, anxious, and unfocused so be careful. If you don’t drink coffee, you can always get caffeine gum or caffeine pills at your pharmacy or ebay. I’ve tried them and they work pretty well.
Find a quiet place. A lot of people work and focus better with complete silence. This is why if you so much as breathe in the quiet zone of a university library you will get multiple death glares from students. They know that sounds are disruptive and distracting.
- Book some mini vacation time.
Throughout your day, set aside time where you don’t have to be productive at all. This makes for guilt free personal time! Just make sure to get back to work afterwards and not get sucked into the matrix :).
- Get Up!
Standing up can help you focus and increase your productivity. I’m even working from my standing desk as I write this right now. It’s better for your body (it’s easier to move around and become less sedentary) and I find it helps me complete a task much quicker. If you’d like to look at some standing desks, try Varidesk. They can get quite expensive, so if you’re up for a project then try some DIY versions like these ones from Lifehacker.
- Have a quick laugh
If you really can’t focus because you’re down in the dumps, then try a pick me up YouTube video. Just type in something that is funny to you: “funny cat fails” “Donald Trump” “The Office Bloopers” and enjoy a 5-10 minute laugh. You’ll feel better afterwards and hopefully ready to charge into your next task.
- Note your triggers
Whenever you get distracted, notice what happened immediately before you got distracted. Was your stomach grumbling? Did your neck tense up? Did you receive some harsh criticism? Soon you’ll know what makes you prone to distraction and then you can realize you’re being triggered and move on. You can use a journal to create a tracker and at the end of the week review it. This will help you become more self-aware about what triggers you.
- Don’t fight your thoughts
Thoughts about doing something else, thoughts about how you’re never going to finish the task at hand creep in and you instinctively try to stop these thoughts because you’re supposed to be focused.
Try this: simply allow these thoughts to occupy a space in your mind, keep working on the task at hand, and eventually they will fade away and become replaced by a different thought. You give thoughts more power by trying to restrict them from entering your conscious. It’s like when I tell you not to think about a pink elephant, guess what you’re thinking about?
- Get a successful person crush
Find a successful person you look up to and model them. Find out their schedule, how they organize their life, study all about them. Don’t become that person but rather learn from them and try to learn from their mistakes. Maybe they spent 20 years of their life goofing off. Maybe you can reduce that to 15 years of your life by learning their methods.
- Capture some enthusiasm
When you wake up in the morning, think about what you’re excited to do today. Not excited about anything? Then create something to do that you will be excited about. If you have no plans, think about all the fun things you could do by yourself after your daily tasks are done. Having this enthusiasm can help beat your procrastination!
- Drink a glass of water
If you’re feeling sluggish and have a headache then this can kill your productivity. You could just be dehydrated. Drink a glass or two of water. Better yet, always stay hydrated and drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning.This is because your body depletes your water resources at night and you should always have enough stored up.
- “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Take the time to ponder the common saying “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” It’s basically layman’s terms for psychological resilience and self-efficacy. Realize your true potential. The human mind is extremely powerful and if you believe you can do something, then you can. The quote that our Founder uses on everything in Why Not 3 is ‘Sometimes an idea can become a reality.’ It’s on the book, in the first blog post and on many more goodies…
- Face your fears
There may come a time where something scares you so you put it off. Don’t do that. You gotta grab the bull by the horns in this case or you’re not going to succeed. Face your fears head on and realize they’re probably not as scary as your mind made them seem.
It’s okay to change up your to-do list throughout the day or change your long term goals. People change. Don’t beat yourself up because things changed but instead, make an effort to evaluate your daily goals and your long term goals every now and then. The most successful people that we’ve monitored in Why Not 3, are the ones that reread and rethink their goals every day. Your goals should always be close to you.
- Harness the power of self-talk
Don’t think things like “I have to do (this task) and I should have done it yesterday!” Instead, change the way you talk to yourself. Try “I will do (this task) today to the best of my ability!”
- The power is at the starting line
Think about it, to get out of bed in the morning, you only need about 10 seconds of willpower to push off your covers and roll out of bed. Focus on starting a task, not finishing it. If you really don’t like waking up, then use all the tricks in the book to get your alarm as far away as possible from you, so that you force yourself to wake up.
- Create routines and habits
Stuff you do every day should basically be put on “auto-pilot.” For example, eating healthy and exercising. Engrain into your mind via a habit tracker (some are listed just below) that healthy eating and exercise are something you do every day, without fail. Just like brushing your teeth.
- Mix it up
If something is going to take you 5 hours, don’t sit down and try to conquer it all at once. You’ll get bored pretty quickly. Either break it up over a period of a couple days or break it into chunks separated by different tasks within the same day. Either way, you want to make sure you’re not trying to focus on one thing for too long. For some people, it’s also necessary to change up your routine. Your routine may change naturally as different events happen in your life such as moving to a different country, getting a different job, or having kids. However, if you happen to find yourself getting bored then you can go ahead change up your routine. Personally, I change my routine every 4 months. If you like certain parts of your routine and wish not to change them, there is no pressure to do so!
Lova Kremer (Founder of Why Not 3) says every 1-2 months you should be changing up your routine,or else we as a species get bored, based on his personal experimentation.
Variety is the spice of life.
Apps and websites to aid your procrastination journey
- Meditate with the Headspace App
If the thought of meditating made your brain scream “NO!” then check out our post, Meditation for those who can’t sit still. You’ve probably heard that meditation and mindfulness is scientifically proven to enhance focus. But have you actually tried meditating yet? Just a couple minutes per day can help.
The Headspace App makes it easy-peasy to learn how to meditate. Try their FREE 10 Day Challenge. Start here.
- Strict Workflow
Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? You can read about it here. Basically, you work without any distractions for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break (so you can take 5 minutes to grab a snack, scroll through Facebook, or play some Candy Crush and not feel guilty about it.) When your 5 minutes are up…it’s time to get back to work! Strict Workflow is a browser app that lets you blacklist or whitelist certain websites and keep track of the time for you – in a super cute tomato shaped timer!
- Written? Kitten!
Possibly the most adorable anti-procrastination website out there. It’s based on the idea if you do something good, you get something good (AKA positive reinforcement). This is helpful if you’re a blogging entrepreneur who writes a lot or if your job requires you to type a lot. Set your milestone of 100 to 1000 words and each time you reach your milestone you get, that’s right, an incredibly cute kitten! Well, not an actual kitten just a picture, but that’s close enough. Start now.
- The Habit Sheet
You wake up, you know you need to do work, but you do other things instead. Why do we do this to ourselves, over and over again? Probably because your brain is exhausted from this little menace called decision fatigue. Zap your indecisiveness with a plan called the Habit Sheet, perfect against procrastination. It’s a super simple, free Google doc to plan your entire day (or life). Start with creating an awesome morning routine, then move onto conquering bigger and more badass habits. Get started today, click here.
- Stop Procrastination
You spend hours watching Netflix, so why not spend 30 minutes indulging in some hypnosis? Clinical hypnotherapist Andrew Johnson created this self-hypnosis program to help people stop procrastinating. He’s already helped thousands of people break their bad habits and you can benefit too. Users also report it helps them with headaches and relaxation. You can buy the app (for the price of a cheeseburger at McDonald’s) right here. Why Not 3 is not affiliated with Stop Procrastination and we don’t get anything from promoting it. It’s honestly just a cool app!
- Habitica – Play Games and Stop Procrastinating
If you love games then you’ll love Habitca (formerly Habit RPG). Create your own character then level up and decorate your character with clothes and weapons as you complete daily habits and tasks. For each habit completed you get coins to spend on rewards for yourself (such as an episode of your favorite show) or rewards for your character. Tend to your character each day to keep them healthy! Start playing and building habits here.
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For Mac & Windows, this program takes up the entire screen so you’re not tempted to open your web browser, play solitaire, or get distracted by anything else that pops up on your screen. Unlike Microsoft Word, Writeroom (for Mac) and Darkroom (for Windows) is completely uncluttered and gives you a full-screen writing experience. You can also customize Writeroom to add background pictures and keyboard sounds, in case just staring at words gets too boring.Either way, you’ll be less tempted to click on Facebook. Writeroom is $13.99 from the App Store and Darkroom is free. Why Not 3 is not affiliated with either one, but hopefully they’ll aid you on your procrastination journey.
It’s a workout for your brain. Consistent practice over time can help some people increase their attention span and stay sharp. Just be careful not to procrastinate by playing all the fun Lumosity games. Don’t expect a miracle — some studies suggest there’s no effect from Lumosity games. But don’t knock it ‘til you try it!
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Are you a biohacker? Have you ever wanted to start biohacking? Either way, you’ll love this next gadget. Being calm helps you focus. Heartmath helps you to calm yourself quickly through breathing, even faster than meditation. The team at Heartmath went through years of rigorous research to bring you gadgets to reduce stress. Heartmath uses the heart-brain-body connection to lead you to better health, less stress, and consequently better performance. Products range from $129 and up. Why Not 3 is not affiliated with Hearthmath but we believe it truly works and hope it helps you. Send an email and let us know if it does!
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An app to help you meditate, focus, relax, and sleep. It’s free to sign up initially! Omvana is an amazing collection of meditation tracks, relaxing beats, music, poetry, and more. You can customize your Omvana app with the tracks that suit you best. For example, if you need more help with focus than with relaxation, then you can customize your collection of tracks to help you focus. One of the most attractive things about this app is the flexibility for busy people. If you’re constantly stressed for time, then you’ll be happy to know Omvana lets you choose between tracks that last from 3 minutes to 1 hour. Plus, if meditation seems weird or too New Age for you, Omvana just might make it easier. Download it on your iPhone or Android and pick a track. You might find out the elusive “meditation” everyone is talking about isn’t so hard after all. The downside is while it’s free to sign up, you do have to upgrade to Omvana+ to access most of the tracks that are available.
- The Why Not 3 Email List
Have you subscribed to the Why Not 3 email list? If you’ve haven’t you might want to consider it because the Founder of Why Not 3 personally sends out these emails that are loaded with productivity hacks, special offers, and other resources to help you. From biohacking tips to inspiring quotes, you won’t want to miss what’s in the emails. You can sign up now, right here!
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Take advantage of the software that sends you a popup every time you visit a webpage that is unrelated to the task you’re doing. It also tracks your time and helps you manage it. Time Doctor is meant for people who manage other people and want to see how time is being spent.This is a paid software with a free demo.You can try it yourself or invite your team to try it with you. Why Not 3 is not affiliated with Time Doctor, we just think it could be helpful for some of you.
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A website that gives you music to “dramatically improve focus, relaxation, & sleep.” I tried it out myself and found I did sleep much sounder, which is a key to a morning of good work. Your first few sessions are free, but then you have to pay to continue listening. It’s very straightforward, simply go onto the website and pick out some music. Sweet dreams! Why Not 3 isn’t affiliated with Brain.fm and we don’t get any sort of compensation from endorsing it.
- Learn the importance of contracts
StickK takes writing down your goals to a whole new level by implementing a “Commitment” Contract. This is a contract that you make with yourself. You tell yourself what you’d like to achieve (e.g. a new operational website within 3 months) and then write it down in the Commitment Contract. This website helps you eliminate the gap between having your goals and actually achieving them.
Books to inspire you to kick procrastination to the curb
Don’t procrastinate on reading these books. Even if you just read one, I think you’ll find it very beneficial. You can easily find these books by a quick Google Search. Get the most benefit by actually reading the books, not simply looking at a synopsis or online review.
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
Sometimes you just need inspiration for what’s possible without procrastination. Sometimes you need a glimpse of what kind of opportunities are out there for you.
- The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
This is for those of you who procrastinate in the mornings. This book shows you what is really possible if you utilize your time wisely.
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Your procrastination can become a habit. Learn why habits exist and how to change them.
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book has been popular for a while, and for good reason. Get some serious insight into personal change and learn from the best.
- Staying Focused in a Hyper World by John Gray
Can’t focus? This book outlines some natural solutions for ADHD.
- Skinny On Time Management: How to Maximize Your 24 Hour Gift by Jim Randel
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. This book is a super easy read and shows you how to find the time to reach your goals.
- The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
This is another gem that is easy to read. Dive into the new science behind self-control and how to harness it to improve your overall life and become more productive.
- A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen
Learn how to make permanent and positive changes to your life in only 21 days with just this book and a bracelet.
- Getting things done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
This is another quick read that can add some value to your own journey towards productivity. The book includes many ideas mentioned in this post but he weaves them together in a perfect little information morsel for you.
Inspiration & understanding for when procrastination takes over your life
The majority of these tricks and inspirational guides come in the form of videos. Watch these YouTube videos and TED Talks. There are some seriously underrated videos out there that have information within them to transform your life. Act on what you learn from the information and you will see results within your own life.
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Dr. John Gray answers it all in his YouTube video.
Note that this video itself is 35 minutes, BUT you can use this hack time and time again to bring focus back to your life. It’s well worth the time investment.
When you’re stressed, everything is so much harder. Try unplugging, relaxing, and becoming stress-free with Why Not 3’s silent day. It’s super easy and actually brings results. Read more here.
Remember the Bulletproof Diet from earlier in the post? While Bulletproof coffee may be up for debate, the willpower of the man behind it, Dave Asprey, isn’t. Watch how he hacked his effectiveness.
The TED talk for when you need to understand why before you can start to change.
It’s not a myth. Some people actually live relatively stress free.
Mel Robbins gives it to you straight and tells you what you probably need to hear.
For you, that habit is to stop procrastinating. One step at a time and suddenly your life is transformed.
This 18-minute speech by Art Williams is extremely relatable and will leave you wondering why you don’t simply “do it.”
With a little humor from Reggie Rivers, you can start to develop a new way of looking at your goals that can ultimately help you stay motivated and focus.
Tony Robbins helps you pinpoint what focus actually is and actually harness that focus.
So there you have it. 101 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Enhance Focus. These tips will help you whether you’re an entrepreneur, a stay at home parent, a student, or anyone who struggles with time management. Remember to see results, you have to ACT! Yes, that means actually applying some of the strategies in this blog post.
Don’t be discouraged if the fight against procrastination seems too hard – remember that it takes around 21 days to start to solidify a habit. In no time, focusing will seem easier than ever before. You just have to go get started, now! What are you waiting for?
Did you find these tips interesting? You probably have a friend who could use these tips just as much as you! Share the link with them and stop procrastinating together.
If you’re interested in more ways to improve your work-life balance and become more productive then you can find secret tips and tricks that the Founder of Why Not 3 used himself in the official Why Not 3 book. Click here!