How to beat procrastination for good (5 Methods)


“Anytime you stop striving to get better, you’re bound to get worse.” — Brian Tracy

What to do

Beat procrastination for good with 5 powerful methods.

Why it works

Brian Tracy (pictured above) is a Canadian-American self-development author and motivational speaker. He has written several best-selling books, notably “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.” One key idea of the book is that dealing with the most significant and potentially daunting tasks early in the day is a great way to overcome procrastination. 

The idea is inspired by a quote often attributed to Mark Twain: “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing you’ll have to do all day long.” 

Twain’s quote points to an important notion: starting strong and maintaining deliberateness and momentum throughout your day makes beating procrastination much easier. Here are 5 powerful methods for pulling this off.

How to do it

1) Eat That Frog. In this eponymous method from Tracy’s book, the frog is a metaphor for your most important task — usually the one you dread doing. Use the 30-3-11 Rule to time it when your motivation peaks: 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 11 hours after waking. For 75% of us, mornings are best. If you want to learn more about the 30-3-11 Rule, check out this article.

2) 5-Minute Rule. The hardest part of a hard task is getting started. So, try the 5-Minute Rule: first, set a timer for 5 minutes. Second, work on the task you’ve put off. Third, stop after 5 minutes (if you want). 90% of the time, the initial momentum will keep you going (h/t to Colby Kultgen).

3) Timebox Your Day. Popularized by Nir Eyal in his book “Indistractable”, Timeboxing is about migrating your to-do list into your calendar. First, you turn everything you do in a day into an appointment with yourself. Then, all you need to do is show up (as you would for appointments with others). If you want to delve deeper into timeboxing, read this article.

4) Pomodoro Technique. This is a brutally-effective and dead-simple way to tackle intimidating tasks throughout the day: focus for 25 minutes on the task and take a 5-minute break. Repeat this up to four times before taking a longer break. Invented by Francesco Cirillo, this method is helpful for shorter tasks — but far from ideal for challenging deep work that requires extended focus. That’s why I use an altered version called the Pomodoro 2.0 for that type of work. Learn more about it here.

5) Four Quarters Method. Divide your day into four quarters: morning, midday, afternoon and evening. The premise of this method by bestselling author Gretchen Rubin is simple: instead of writing off an entire day, you only get to screw a quarter of it – and then start fresh again in the next one. You’ll get four shots to ace the day instead of one. Fail small, not big. If you want to dive deeper into the method, read this.

You just learned 5 powerful methods to beat procrastination. 

Give them a try and let me know how it went.