Back in 2018 I was asked by Habit Nest to contribute to an article on overcoming procrastination. I'm reproducing the contents here.
The original article is available here: "20+ Experts Share Tips on Stopping Procrastination and Causing Self-Improvement".
My three tips for overcoming procrastination are:
Break large tasks into smaller, actionable steps
Starting any large job can be overwhelming. It's easy to procrastinate when there seems like far too much to do.
A good first step is to break down the task into smaller and smaller pieces until you feel comfortable. Even if the task is relatively simple, dividing things up can help get over the initial hump.
The tasks don't have to be major parts of the project, and depending on the work required,there's usually no need to break every single thing down at the start either. Overly-complicated planning is another way to procrastinate on getting started.
A useful rule of thumb is to make each step a specific question that can be answered with a "yes" or a "no" to signal if it's done. "Organize notes" isn't as clear as "gather my notes for project X into a folder".
Use time boxing
Time boxing is the process of setting aside a set amount of time to work on a task. It doesn't have to be a large amount of time - sometimes working just 15 minutes is enough to break the deadlock and start making progress.
If I've been procrastinating on something for a long time, I'll deliberately keep the time short to get things going. It can be tempting to set aside a couple of hours, but this can make it harder to start as it looks like "plenty of time".
Make time for organization
I often find that when I'm procrastinating it means I don't have a clear enough picture of what I need to do. I might have do some research, read over more notes or just sketch out some ideas to clarify what the outcome should be.
Other times I'll already have the information I need, but if it's not organized where it should be it's off-putting to have to dig around for it.
Setting aside some regular time for organizing projects helps me to keep on top of things. I'm much more likely to start working if I know I can grab a folder with everything I need instead of having to search for things first.
Bonus tip: The two-minute rule
If a task comes up during organization that is going to take less than two minutes, do it there and then. Small jobs have a tendency to pile up and this rule helps to keep on top of them.