It’s midnight on the Sunday before the deadline of a major project. You’re staring at your computer screen, nearly in tears because you’ve taken your sweet, sweet time to complete your task. Every precious minute that passes is consumed by the thoughts of your boss’s disappointed reaction to the sub par work you’ll turn in the next day. Can anyone relate to this classic case of the procrastination scaries?

We’ve all fallen victim to problematic procrastination here or there, spending more time agonizing about the work than actually doing it. Contrary to popular belief, there are solutions to these problems that don’t include waiting out the clock. Check them out!

Problem: “I don’t want to do this.”
Solution: Sometimes, work can be emotionally daunting, leaving no other choice but to avoid it altogether. The only way to truly get past an unpleasant task is to face it head on with a positive attitude. Instead of letting yourself put things off, create a mini reward system to get it done! If you hit a deadline on time, treat yourself. Try swapping a paper bag lunch for a meal out or hit the movies after work. The key to overcoming unwanted tasks is sometimes simply being nice to yourself. Rewards will feel that much better after finishing annoying work!

Problem: “Where do I start?”
Solution: Crossing the starting threshold is sometimes even harder than crossing the finish line. Often times, procrastination stems from not knowing where to begin. How many times have you looked a project and simply given up before you even started? The solution: baby steps. Take it slow, one day at a time, spending an hour or two digesting the project. Be sure to make a detailed plan for making incremental progress. Then, come back to it after some thought. Not only will this help spark new ideas, but the project will be more thorough in the end!

Problem: “I’m exhausted; I can’t do it.”
Solution: Day-in and day-out, we slave to cut our to-do lists in half. Sometimes the list is so long that we “forget” tasks (cough, cough…meaning we put them off) because they suck every ounce of energy from our hardworking brains. In order to avoid burnout, take breaks! Procrastinating for a short period of time isn’t the end of the world if you’re using a small break wisely. Play a mind game, have a short conversation with a co-worker, take a walk or make a little snack. Small breaks will help avoid long periods of procrastination.

Problem: “I have time. It’ll be okay!”
Solution: Those who procrastinated the most in the past invented the saying “wow, time flies!” All jokes aside, you don’t have as much time as you might think. A project will be assigned one minute and the next thing you know – bam – the due date is tomorrow. To avoid a last minute panic attack, start early. At the very least, take notes, do some research, even just sort through ideas on how you need to complete the task. Time will be your greatest ally if you use it wisely!

The opposite of procrastination is anticipation! Be proactive in your work habits and grinding will seem more enjoyable and less painful. Think long and hard about the solutions to these common procrastination problems and getting things done on time will be a breeze! Have any more helpful solutions? Feel free to share below: