15 Ways Successful People Overcome Procrastination

Procrastination is the problem of human beings. We procrastinate for hundreds of reasons. But some beat the bad habit, some are beaten by it. So I’ve summarized 15 ways on how successful people overcome procrastination from HuffPost. Let’s see which method will work for you!

#1 Make the commitment to others

Recommended by Sarah Peterson, Founder of Unsettle

These tactics are for people who need external accountability.

What you do is to make commitments to others, whether they’re clients or coaches or accountability partners – to make sure that you don’t procrastinate.

“I might put off writing something that doesn’t have a due date, but if I promise it to someone else by a certain date, I’ll get it done.”

#2 Prioritize tasks based on ABCDE Method 

Recommended by Tor Refsland, Founder of Time Management Chef

This can be used when you design your to-do-list. It should contain all the tasks you need to do. The activities that aren’t included in your master to-do list, won’t get done.

Here’s how you should prioritize things:

A task you must do today, if not they will give you serious consequences

B tasks you should do today, if not they will give you mild consequences

C tasks you could do today, if not they will give no consequences

D tasks you delegate

E tasks you eliminate.

When you start your workday, start with your A tasks, which are your most important tasks. The real trick is to never do a B task before you have completed all your A tasks, and never do a C task before you have completed all your B tasks. By following this system you will be working at your most income generating tasks at any given time.

#3 Erase all distraction

Mr. Refsland suggests isolating ourselves when working on important tasks, if possible. Work in a library, find a working space for your own so you won’t get disturbed by people.

In addition, turn off / mute your phone and turn off your Wi-Fi (if your task doesn’t require you to be online).

Remove distractions - How successful people overcome procrastination
Source: designtaxi.com

Mr. Liam Martin, Co-founder of Time Doctor, used Time Doctor, his own app. Time Doctor gives you a popup when you go to a website that doesn’t connect with the task you was supposed to do. Eg: If my task is designing an email marketing on Mailchimp, the app will give you a pop up if I go to Twitter.

Mr. Tiep Vu, the founder of Nirow, combines Rescue Time and Nirow at the same time to minimize using social media. We all know Rescue Time gives us reports how much time we spend on types of websites. And Nirow, our app, automatically syncs with Rescue Time to remind if you’ve exceeded the limit.


“Eliminating distractions is the key to staying productive, if you can get rid of them you win.”

#4 Think about the consequences if you procrastinate. Make them your motivation

By Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva -Former chief evangelist of Apple

Short but concise. If you don’t do this, you’ll receive no salary. If there’s no salary, you can’t the pay for your kids’ tuition fee. Your kids can’t go to university. That’s bad. This is how successful people overcome procrastination.

This thinking only works for people who handle stress well, also known as active procrastinators, but not everyone. (Read my previous post the find out whether procrastination is good or bad)

#5 Put a timer. Build a sense of urgency 

By Michael Sliwinski, Founder and CEO of Nozbe and Productive! Magazine & Thanh Pham, Managing Director at Asian Efficiency

Michael used Pomodoro Technique. It basically means you just put a timer for 25 minutes and start doing only one task. “This time pressure and single focus help me get back on track and get into my productivity rhythm. On bad days I spend most of my days like this.” – said he.

The Director of Asian Efficiency suggests using 2-minute-timer. “Tell yourself the magic phrase: “I will just do X for 2 minutes”. When you give yourself permission to only do something for 2 minutes and then stop, you trick yourself to do it. What usually happens is that you’ll get started and then when the 2 minutes are over, you want to keep going. As you do this more often, you can increase it to 5 minutes, to 10 minutes and eventually an hour.”

#6 Design your IDEAL weekly schedule 

By Darren Rowse, Founder of Problogger

“I used to flip from one activity to another each day based upon what I was feeling was urgent or what I had the energy for but realized that many times that didn’t take me closer to my ultimate goals. So I asked myself what activities I need to do each week to get to my goals and designed a weekly schedule around that. Now I have a roadmap of what I need to do every day.”

Eisenhower’s Principle - How successful people overcome procrastination
Source: James Clear

And how can you maximize the efficiency of your schedule? You can use ABCDE Method above or Eisenhower’s Principle.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey


#7 Understand why you procrastinate and design a plan to overcome it 

Recommended by Lori Deschene, Founder of Tiny Buddha

One reason for procrastinating is that maybe you’re new to the task or have some difficulties with it. 

But the difference here is that normal people give up or delay, successful people find a way to overcome.

Eg: If your boss tells you to find the most reliable agency in your country. You’re confused. Don’t just stand still, instead, you should go ask for help from someone experienced.

#8 Meditation 

Recommended by a lot of people

Meditation is pushups on the mind and procrastination is just your mind being weak. So, you can either cry about procrastination or do mental pushups. The actual mechanism is that meditation teaches awareness and control (also calm, but that doesn’t matter for this use case).

Procrastination happens normally at your subconscious level. You’re avoiding something. A strong meditator will take a deep breath, bring their awareness to the tiny feeling that they’re avoiding, laugh at the feeling, and then put their focus back towards doing real work.

Meditation is the best way to

#9 Delete it or Delegate it! 

by Neen James, Attention Expert at Neenjames.com

If you are really avoiding something you need to ask yourself: Is this something I MUST do?

What about if the answer is no, determine can you delete it or delegate it? If you can delete it that’s fabulous. If you can delegate it, who is the best person to outsource it to?

But how can you define which task you should do and which one you should delegate or delete? Check this out!

#10 Do the most difficult task first in the morning 

By Jeff Sanders Author, Public Speaker and Host of The 5 AM Miracle Podcast

Have you ever heard about Mark Twain’s “Eat that frog”? Here’s what exactly what he said:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

And Mr. Sanders also recommended the same. His No.1 Method to beat procrastination He schedules his biggest, scariest task first thing in the morning. “My normal morning routine includes exercise and other healthy habits, but I will bump those activities and replace that time with work time if the job needs to get done.”

#11 Single-minded working 

By Tor Refsland, Founder of Time Management Chef

Focus on one task only. No multitasking! This is how successful people overcome procrastination.

#12 “Grab your nose” 

By Shovan Chowdhury, Top Writer at Quora

“Whenever I wake up early in the morning but don’t feel like leaving the bed, I take a long deep breath but don’t leave the breath. Instead, I grab my nose firmly. So, I can’t leave my breath. In this technique, you are not allowed to leave the breath through the mouth.

My heart needs more oxygen. I feel suffocated. It’s like the Fight-or-flight response. In this situation, my whole body becomes alert to protect threat on life. Strangely, all the procrastination and laziness is gone within few moments, the mind does not work properly at this moment. It feels like I just want to leave my breath. Within few seconds, I keep away my hand from the nose. Ah. I leave my breath with huge satisfaction.”

After applying this technique, you will not procrastinate or sleep again on the bed in the morning after waking up.

#13 Take one small step

By Sean Ogle, Founder of Location 180

The hardest part of anything is starting, and 9 times out of 10 if you start you can carry myself through and get a lot done.

Hence, Mr. Ogle suggests “The number one thing I do to get over procrastination is take one small step. If I’m trying to motivate myself to go for a run, I immediately put on my running shoes. If I’m trying to write a blog post, I open up a text doc and write one sentence.”

#14 Just in Time

By Steven Aitchison Author, CEO and Founder of Change Your Thoughts, Change your life

This is a “Habit cures Habits” method. If you can’t beat procrastination, then make use of it.

Whatever length of time the task requires completing, you only do it before the deadline 2 days. “For instance, I had a program where I needed to make 15 videos. I would normally do this over a span of 3-4 weeks. However, I spent 2 days, before the program went live, and completed the videos.” said the CEO.

This way you’ve got pressure, you’ve got a commitment, and you’ve got the added bonus of not overthinking things, you get out of your own way and just get it done.

#15 Chunks of 1-hour tasks 

By Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Todoist

Split big projects into manageable chunks of maybe 1-hour tasks. This will allow you to estimate the total time involved more accurately. Plus, you’ll see your progress as you check off each task

That’s all about how successful people overcome procrastination with different methods. But remember that not all of them will work for you.

Now if you have done reading this article then stand up and start forming productive habits with Nirow – our automatically tracking habits app!