Even the most focused and productive people procrastinate sometimes. You might find yourself scrolling social media or repeatedly checking emails instead of getting started on a project. Or you might decide to check the news or Skype a co-worker rather than make a sales call. Once you get off track, it can be difficult to re-focus.

To beat procrastination before it takes hold, Dr. Travis Bradberry, the award-winning co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, recommends taking control of your mood. When you get yourself in the right frame of mind with the right strategies, you can get things done and avoid going down the procrastination rabbit hole.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share nine ideas from Dr. Bradberry on how to push back the next time you feel like procrastinating.

  1. Eliminate distractions. When you recognize the things that can distract you, whether that’s the ping of incoming e-mails or kids bursting into your office, you can make a plan to stay on track. For example, you could look up necessary emailed information before starting on your task and alert your family that you are working from a certain time until a certain time.
  2. Get started. Even when you love what you do, it can sometimes be difficult to jump in. Once you get going, though, Dr. Bradberry notes that your mood improves dramatically. This helps you stay on task.
  3. Break down your project. Feeling overwhelmed is a leading cause of procrastination. That’s why Dr. Bradberry advises finding smaller pieces of the task that you can quickly and easily accomplish. Those smaller tasks will add up and make the larger project not feel so intimidating.
  4. Work in the right place. Another way to beat procrastination is to make sure you are working in the environment that is right for you. If you know you are distracted by the TV or you will feel tempted to stop and catch up on housework, commit to working in an area where you won’t get so distracted.
  5. Celebrate the small things. Did you check off an item on your to-do list? Acknowledge the accomplishment. According to Dr. Bradberry, small victories build new androgen receptors in parts of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. By enjoying small victories, you build your confidence and momentum.
  6. Be realistic. If you set unrealistic goals for your day, you will become discouraged and more apt to procrastinate. Dr. Bradberry says it’s smarter to get real about what you can accomplish in a given time period.
  7. Fixate on the action you want. Rather than telling yourself, “I will not procrastinate. I will get this done today,” Dr. Bradberry recommends focusing on what you will do and how great you feel once you do it. This allows your mind to fixate on the action you want to take instead of the behavior you want to avoid.
  8. Ditch perfectionism. Many professionals freeze up when it’s time to get started because they are waiting for the right inspiration or they know their ideas aren’t perfect. Unless you get started, you will never produce anything great. Avoid aiming for perfection and just get started on your project.
  9. Focus on results. You may feel nervous before beginning a major task but think about how amazing you will feel when you complete the task and see the results.

Procrastination may bring relief in the moment, but in the long run, procrastination can severely limit your potential. Fortunately, like most habits, you can overcome procrastination. It helps to first understand why you are procrastinating. Then, you can think about how to apply the above strategies to get back on task. Procrastination happens, but you can prevent it from becoming the norm in your life.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the co-founder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies.