How to Stop Procrastinating Once and For All

Do you procrastinate too much? Are you waiting for your “big break” to take the next (or first) step towards your big goal? If so, then it’s time to get rid of procrastination once and for all. Here’s how.

Tony Evans on Procrastination

This is part of a year-end countdown of my top 5 posts of 2014. This was my 5th most popular post of the year and one of my favorites. I hope that you find value in it if you are new or just needed a reminder. Don’t worry…not all of my content for the rest of the year is “Best of.” Stay tuned for some other great posts and offers.

This is part of a year-end countdown of my top 5 posts of 2014. This was my 5th most popular post of the year and one of my favorites. I hope that you find value in it if you are new or just needed a reminder. Don’t worry…not all of my content for the rest of the year is “Best of.” Stay tuned for some other great posts and offers.

The irony of this post is that I procrastinated in writing it.

I had a cooler post that I wanted to write. One that had me more excited than this post. One that was more fun to write. So I started down the path of writing that one. (It’s worth the wait, trust me.)

Then I realized I would be a hypocrite of the worst kind. So here I am; writing this post about procrastination. Talk about applying the principles I write about. Admittedly, taking my own advice is much harder than giving it.

Start at the beginning

Tony Evans writes in his book, Kingdom Man, about a frequent experience in his life as someone with millions of radio listeners and television viewers.

Young pastors approach him and want to know the “secret to his success.” Evans replies by asking them to name the last time they ministered to a small group of teenage boys or spoke at a prison. As you can imagine, most people don’t like those questions in response. They want to know his secret sauce, not be confronted with reality.

The reality is that Tony Evans spent years speaking to individuals and small groups before he was reaching millions. He says in his book:

Put differently, how could you possibly expect to be able to handle speaking to millions when you’ve never spoken to one, or tens, or hundreds?

Stop making excuses

Ultimately, procrastination comes to down to making excuses.

You make excuses why you should check Facebook instead of writing that business proposal. You justify five more minutes of reading the news when you know that you could sneak in a quick workout. You rationalize why you spend an hour working on something that is neither urgent nor important, but it sure feels productive, when you could finish the project that is due Friday.

Those excuses seem ridiculous, and even though you might make them often, you know that they aren’t productive.

But what about the excuses you make for procrastinating because you want more?

You put off caring for your lawn until you have a nicer house on a nicer property. You don’t bother to get up thirty minutes earlier to work on your side business because it’s only thirty minutes and your business isn’t even growing that much. Much better to put that off until you have more money or connections.

The answer to all of this is to stop making excuses for why you don’t start. Stop belittling where you are today and “work with what you’ve got.”

Go create opportunities

When Tony Evans was just getting started as a preacher, he could have come up with a thousand excuses why he wouldn’t preach.

He had no experience.

He had no church.

He wouldn’t be paid.

No one had asked him to.

But he didn’t wait.

He preached at bus stops. Every Friday.

He writes:

If Tony Evans hadn’t preached on Fridays at bus stops in Atlanta when no one was paying any attention, he wouldn’t be speaking to millions today.

He created opportunities. He didn’t wait for the perfect opportunity. He didn’t wait for the situation to improve. He didn’t make excuses why it wouldn’t work. He didn’t wait for an invitation.

He did what he was called to do, without hesitation.

The right tools

Until you have that mindset, you will continue to procrastinate.

Until you decide once and for all that you will do what you are called to do without hesitation, all of the tools, tricks, apps, and books in the world won’t help you stop procrastinating.

Procrastination is an attitude. It’s a disease. It’s not something that goes away with 10 steps, an accountability partner, a to-do list, or an extra cup of coffee.

It ends when you stop waiting for an invitation. It ends when you create your own opportunities and pounce on them like a lion on a gazelle. It ends today…if you decide it does.

Question: What has caused you to procrastinate? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Stop procrastinating and back your focus

There was an issue loading your exit LeadBox™. Please check plugin settings.
Free Affiliate Training from Matt McWilliams
  • Good timing, Matt. The temptation to procrastinate is everywhere at this time of year, which makes it all the more insidious, would you agree?

    “Surely if everyone else is procrastinating, [the little voice in your head says]…….then I can get away with it too.”

    The good news is that if you are prepared to go against the flow at this time of year, you will stand out all the more. http://www.wingstosuccess.com/2014-not-too-late/

  • It is easy to get distracted. Stepping away from the computer is one thing I need to do more often to avoid procrastinating on some of my other projects.

  • To your question Matt, making a too big to do list, I’ve been trying to cap it to ten for the whole day including family matters. Also if I don’t focus on what is the most important, I can just get “busy” with other items.

    Also trying to keep some items to a time limit, for example, time on the computer. Great post Matt.

  • Me? Procrastinating? Never. I tend to procrastinate when I get overwhelmed and try to do too many things. Instead of narrowing the list down to the essentials I start “checking FB” and all those things. Or reading and commenting on blogs like I’m doing right now instead of writing my own blog post.

  • Fear is one reason for my procrastination.

  • Amanda

    One of the biggest reasons I procrastinate is that I don’t know what TO do. I’m over thirty, I feel like I should have at least figured out what direction to take my life by now.

    • I think this is VERY common Amanda. Have you ever read the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown? If not, I think it will shed a lot of light on this for you.

      • Amanda

        I have not heard of it. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll have to check it out.