Procrastinators, you’re in good company. Even though we love lists, we also find it challenging to shift into action-mode—especially when we would rather be watching The Office re-runs while devouring a burrito bowl. So, we asked a handful of our favorite creative professionals how they get out of procrastination’s unforgiving black hole. Whether you’re studying for a final exam or finishing that project you’ve been putting off, these productivity tips will get you well on your way.
1. SET FALSE DEADLINES.
“Move up your deadlines two days before things are due. It gives you wiggle room to run over but it also will make you feel great when you complete your work on time—only to discover you were early!”
—Jess Weiner, CEO of Talk to Jess and Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador
2. TURN UP THE VOLUME.
“Choose the right soundtrack! Music that’s upbeat but not lyric heavy will keep your energy up and help you stay focused.”
—Katie Geyer, Communications Manager at WriteGirl
3. GO DIGITALLY DARK.
“I close out of ALL social media websites, even my calendar, to-do list, everything. And I put my phone on Do Not Disturb or airplane mode so I will absolutely not be distracted!”
—Andrea Owen, Author and Life Coach at Your Kick-Ass Life
4. USE THE “TOUCH IT ONCE” PHILOSOPHY.
“We all open emails, tell ourselves we are going to respond later, and we never do. Beyond being counterproductive, it also takes up valuable brain space to have a thousand floating, unanswered emails and it makes it harder to do the parts of our jobs that we LOVE. If you touch it, respond. This practice will roll over into the rest of your work.”
—Arianna Schioldager, Editorial Director at Create + Cultivate
5. CHANGE YOUR SCENERY.
“If I have a big writing project coming up, I take my laptop straight to the beach. Why? No Wi-Fi! I won’t get easily derailed by checking email, browsing social media or worse . . . using the iMessage app for desktop.”
—Kait Hanson, Writer and Creative Consultant at CommuniKait
6. REWARD YOURSELF.
“I make a deal with myself that when I finish XYZ project, then I can take a 15-minute walk around the office without stress. For really big projects, I’ll go work in a new space like a coffee shop or library, to remove distractions and prepare my mind and body to do the work. I usually reward myself after with something fun like froyo, a Netflix binge, or anything that allows me to zone out.”
—Lauren McGoodwin, CEO of Career Contessa
7. EAT THE FROG TO GET MORE DONE.
“I learned from my web designer and media strategist, Cass, to ‘eat the frog.’ The idea is to do the worst task of the day first and get it out of the way. Then you’ll be set up to get more done because you’ve given yourself a productivity boost.”
—Paula Rizzo, FOX News Health Producer and founder of The List Producer
8. TAKE NAPS SERIOUSLY.
“I have an odd schedule (I work on the morning show and that means I have to wake up at three o’clock in the morning), so napping is a necessity. Many days I don’t go to sleep early enough to get a good seven to eight hours of shut eye and when that happens I have to make my naps a priority. If I don’t, I run the risk of walking through the day in a zombie-like state, and my productivity suffers. We all know that when you’re tired it takes you twice as long to get something done—and no one wants that!”
—Liberté Chan, meteorologist and reporter at KTLA and blogger at Life of Liberté
Tell us: How do you get out of procrastination slumps?