9 Productivity Tricks for Procrastinators

by Christine Kane

Irony: As I started to write this article, I thought, “I’ll just go play one quick Sudoku game first.”

I caught myself in the act and marched myself to my laptop.

People who say that procrastination is about laziness are probably the same people who think that anorexia is about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn’t about laziness. It’s about fear. It’s about perfectionism. It’s about overwhelm. We all experience these things!

The good news is that there are ways to get moving again.

Here are 9 of my favorite tricks to help even the worst procrastinator break the habit:

1 – When you get an idea, do some little thing to begin.

When I read Stephen King’s book On Writing, I noticed something.  I noticed that when Stephen King gets an idea, he writes it.  Immediately and imperfectly.

Most people get an idea.

Then they sit there.

They wonder if it’s a good idea.

Then, they wonder if it’s a good idea some more.

Got an idea? Begin it now!

2 – All hail small chunks of time!

Lots of us complain about having no time. My guess is that we all have lots of time. It just doesn’t happen to be all at once.

Are you waiting for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project, or your taxes?   Stop waiting!  Learn to use the spare half hour that comes up here and there. (I gave myself 45 minutes to write this article just to take my own advice.)

3 – Agree to do it badly.

Set a goal to do it badly. Set a goal to show up.  Let go of doing it ALL, or doing it WELL.

Some of my coaching clients’ biggest victories have a lot more to do with getting over perfectionism and fear, than they do about getting it all done perfectly.

4 – Commit aloud.

Call a friend and say something like this: “I’m going to spend the next hour working on creating my new product.” Then go do it.

Call the friend after the half hour and make her congratulate you. Repeat daily.

5 – Define quantities.

Nebulous goals make for nebulous results.

“I’m gonna get my office organized” is a lot like saying, “We oughtta do something about Global Warming.”

Most procrastinators have a hard time defining quantities. We think everything needs to be done NOW.

When are you going to do it? For how long? Which part of your office? The file cabinet? Or your desk?

Define the goal and acknowledge its completion.

6 – Install this System Upgrade into your Mental Hard Drive: Less is More.

Have fewer goals. Have no more than three priorities for a week.


Because you’re not lazy. You’re just trying to do too much.

Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing instead of not quite getting to everything.  Wow – what a difference this makes!

7 – Do it first.

My very first coach made me write first thing in the morning. He told me to schedule the 2-hour chunk as my first activity upon waking.


“Because you’re telling the universe that this is your priority. And then the universe lines up everything to align with your priority.”

Action grounds your priorities. It makes them real. It also makes your day easier because you’re not wasting energy thinking about this thing you’re supposed to be doing.

8 – Avoid “nose-bleed” activities.

Email, voicemail, web stats – any activity that bleeds itself into your whole day becomes a non-activity.  It becomes a nose-bleed.

When you do it all the time, you never complete it. You just let it slowly drain the very life force from you.  Define times for these activities. Then, turn off your email, your cell phone, your web stats, until that time comes.

9 – Don’t ask how you “feel” about doing the activity.

Have you ever committed to getting fit? And then when the alarm goes off, you lie in bed thinking, “Do I really feel like going to the gym?” (Like you even have to ask!)

Change this pattern. Make your decision the night before. Commit to getting up and going right to the gym, the computer, the blank canvas. Don’t have coffee and sigh and think, “I’ll probably feel more like it at lunch time.” You won’t!

If it’s a priority, don’t waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy out.


There. I did it.

I wrote this article.

And now I don’t even want to play Sudoku! How about that?

Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.

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9 Replies to “9 Productivity Tricks for Procrastinators”

  1. Leo Faltin

    Great. But now I have other priorities…

  2. alanc230

    My weakness is solitaire. I have to not start playing at all…or set a time limit of 5 minutes, or what have you. I complain to my family that they waste a lot of time on Facebook, but I have to admit I play a lot of solitaire some days.

  3. Debbie Miller

    Awesome tips! I’m such a big procrastinator so this was very helpful. I think “nose-bleed” activities are my biggest setback – so easy to get caught up!

    1. admin[ Post Author ]

      Thanks Debbie! You and me both on the procrastination!! Crossing my fingers, and taking these tips to heart 🙂

  4. Ani Todd Smith

    Thank you …and thank you

  5. *karendianne

    Great tips here. I picked this up via Twitter at just the perfect time, too. Thank you!!!

  6. Clive Simpkins

    There is of course,a “creative” procrastination, in which the artist/artiste/writer knows that she or he performs best under pressure and therefore(subconsciously perhaps) defers commencement. I often incubate things for a time and suddenly they come pouring out in a torrent.

    But an excellent article for the non-creative kind. For which, I find building in little rewards, pretty helpful. i.e. If I get that boring feedback report done I’ll stop off at a coffee shop en route to my next appointment and have a cappuccino and croissant. Not always, but when I feel the need to say well done on cracking the mundane.

    1. admin[ Post Author ]

      Hey Clive! Thank you for taking the time to stop in and comment. I totally advocate celebrating life’s little successes! Get the job done & then reward yourself with a cappuccino. AND we all need time to just “be still” too 🙂

  7. GurbaxaniDotMe Social Media

    I plead guilty. I have bookmarked this post and am going to read it first thing every morning. And I am not going to play one hand of bridge before I get down to my schedule

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