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How to Stop Procrastinating on Necessary Tasks

Updated on March 21, 2017
rainsanmartin profile image

Philosophical writer and YouTube creator covering the topics of simplicity, homemaking, and the romantic vintage lifestyle.


Article by Rain San Martin

Stop Procrastinating to Remove Mental Debt

Often we can get bogged down with tiny tasks that build up over the course of time. These often are not directly related to our lifetime goals, yet when incomplete they sap us of energy. Our subconscious can carry these unfinished tasks as mental debt. Clearing our plates will help us to welcome new opportunities.

Do you recall a time when you were working on a lifetime goal such as starting your home business yet your mind was pulling you in another direction? Perhaps this was because an important unfinished task was nagging at you, this is a natural and healthy warning sign, yet it is up to you to set time limits, otherwise you may fall into the trap of spending all of your time on "important" tasks yet neglect your dream.

Tackling your to-do list will not only remove some burdens, making you more productive, it will make you more responsible and loving to others.

Moleskin journals are a popular tool for capturing plans on the go.

Feel the Peace that Comes with Completion

Routinely keeping up with bills/paperwork, then filing or tossing them out will not only give you instant peace, your family will feel more secure.

Following through on your weekly cleaning, making that phone call to have the window repaired, or decluttering a room are loving to your family and guests who enter your home.

Following through on your vehicle’s maintenance appointments will give you confidence on your commute to work or during a road trip.

Regularly preserving your digital documents, photo’s, and other personally created media on your computer will give you peace knowing you’ve made a backup copy of your critical data. Now you can create new material with confidence.

Think of anything else that you have put off in your personal life and how completing it will help you to focus on your business or mission.

To-Do List
To-Do List | Source

Attack Your Projects in Short Concentrated Bursts

Spend a reasonable amount of time tackling your to-do list each day, then move on to your lifetime goals. Set aside time blocks for concentrated effort. Some people recommend 15 minutes a day, others prefer a larger stretch of time to make good headway, as momentum can be lost when starting and stopping a project repeatedly. You may want to have this organization, de-cluttering, and filing project as your top priority for an extended period of time.

Eliminate the Unnecessary

One way to check off items from your to-do list is to remove them entirely! Adapting a minimalist lifestyle is one of the surest ways to develop this habit. When you review your list of activities ask yourself which traditions you truly enjoy? Often we take on too much during the holiday's. You will find that you can have a stress free thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or birthday, simply by eliminating the traditions that have caused strain and resentment.

Now find a routine and stick to it:

  • Perhaps you review and act on your paperwork daily as you bring in the mail?
  • You may want to assign a designated weekday for organization and errands.
  • Delegation may be your answer.
  • Quarterly you could put aside a few weekends to blast through anything that fell by the wayside.

The discipline of conquering your tasks can be compared to discipline in fitness and nutrition. For many people, just getting mentally ready to workout is the hardest part, and with a balanced diet, you will have to deny yourself temporary pleasure from time to time, the same is with your procrastinated to-do list. Getting mentally ready to take on the work and get started is often the hardest part, yet when you get started you will find yourself running on auto pilot. Now that your mind is clear you can more easily focus on your life goals.

Bible Verses on Vision and Goals

"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18)"

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty..” (Proverbs 21:5)

“ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

A laptop is a great tool for storing master to-do lists and detailed goals.

Clear Goals will Help You Prioritize

Why You Should Set Goals

There have been new trends within the topic of personal development that focus on "habits" or "systems" over goals. Some within this movement claim there is no need for goals when one has such habits and rituals in place. While developing these disciplines are highly beneficial and can lead one toward the path of a chosen vision, to have no goal is to walk aimlessly.


People who set goals are not happy until they have reached the next milestone. While this may be true for some, most successful advocates of goal setting throughout the ages have stated that a goal is simply a clear vision with a deadline. Joy is found on the journey. The process of achieving a goal brings reward.

Goals Get You Excited About Life

When we only have rituals, yet no clear vision, we can lack vigor. Though there are positive trends in stress management, some "zen" style teachings place an emphases on the moment at hand, rather than the big picture. There seems to be lack of vision and little zest for life within the zen mindset.

Let's say for example a person says, "I want to be a better artist, therefore my habit will be to draw every day for 30minutes". A habits centered person may stop there. But a goal centered person will say, "I will complete 2 drawings per month and place them online for sale". Read: On The Importance Of Goal Setting: 6 Reasons Why You Need To Set Goals for more inspiration.

What one unfinished task would you like to complete, so you can focus on your lifetime goals today?

See results

New Years Resolution: Ending Procrastination

Two popular New Years resolutions include:

  • Getting organized
  • Finishing unfinished projects around the house

Here's the secret: Don't wait for New Years to end procrastination or develop any positive habit. Most people do not follow through with New Years resolutions. It's better to develop the habit of goal setting and follow-through as a lifestyle. Think of the difference having this attitude 365 days per year as compared to only having this for 1-2 weeks will make.

Pray and take action now. Some things we worry about require action, others require waiting.
Pray and take action now. Some things we worry about require action, others require waiting. | Source

To-Do List Hack

Pray and Take Action Now

Don’t forget to pray, some things we worry about require action, others require waiting.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. “ (-Philippians 4:4-8)

No matter how full your to-do list becomes, stay focused on your life purpose, this will add fuel to your fire, making you a better parent and worker at your day job as your life has an underlying meaning. Now just do it! Knock out that procrastinated to-do list, feel the burdens lifted and focus more freely on using your core gifts for your life purpose.

© 2013 Rain San Martin


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    • rainsanmartin profile imageAUTHOR

      Rain San Martin 

      7 years ago from Fort Wayne

      I like your white board idea. I log my completed "key" tasks in my daily word document journal.

    • thefedorows profile image


      7 years ago from the Midwest

      I like your phrase: "Feel the peace that comes with completion." I agree! I am a big fan of using a white board to divide my tasks into each day of the week and then within each day. It feels so nice to erase them away and end the day "clean" so I can sleep in peace. :)


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