Procrastination – How To Stop Procrastinating

Do you keep putting things off?

Tired of avoiding tasks you should be completing?

Does it feel like there are a ton of bricks on your shoulder weighing you down adding to the pressure of life?

If so…

Here is the ultimate guide to procrastination and how to stop procrastinating including tips on motivation.

procrastination stop procrastinating

Use the table of contents below to find what you are looking for…

Definition – What Is Procrastination?

The act of procrastination could be defined as deliberately delaying or putting off something that, normally, would require your immediate attention.

When you procrastinate, you delay something, although you unconsciously know that the outcome of this decision may be linked to negative consequences.

Simply put…

You are not following through and taking action on what you know needs to get done.

It all boils down to “avoiding the self based upon some form of fear”.

Causes Of Procrastination – Why Do I Procrastinate?

  • Because you are lazy and have created bad habits
  • Because you have associated “pain” with the task at hand
  • Because you are afraid of the unknown
  • Because you are afraid of failing

Human beings are very simple…

We all move towards what we define as being “pleasurable” and,

We move away towards what we define as being “painful”.

Over time, these definitions cause you to choose to behave in a manner where you procrastinate.

Now it becomes a habit.

The habits run on autopilot and it becomes much easier for you to avoid these things in the future because they become part of your norm.

This is why forming good habits at an early age is crucial to your personal development.

For example…

You will never procrastinate on watching your favorite movies or eating your favorite foods because you have those beliefs running on autopilot that says: “These things bring us pleasure”.

You now have established the habit of doing these things when they are presented to you.

So if you are procrastinating and putting something off, it’s because you have defined that task as something that will cause you “pain” and you now have this belief running on autopilot.

Things like

  • Choosing to not eat healthy
  • Choosing to not exercise
  • Choosing to not clean your room or house
  • Choosing to not do your homework

Over the years of your life, you have made small choices to put things off and now they have made you into a person that can easily avoid small or big projects.

The trigger point of procrastination differs with every person. However, one of the causes of this problem might be that an individual hesitates to take on responsibility, due to anxiety reasons.

On the other hand, other persons don’t want to be bothered with aspects that impair their comfort. Concurrently, psychologists indicate that procrastination is interlinked with personality problems such as low self-esteem or acute perfectionism.

How Your Fears Cause You To Procrastinate

Whether it is fear of the unknown or fear of failing, most people avoid tasks or things they need to do in life because they have a belief about it that causes them to be afraid.

The first thing you must understand is that fear is your friend.

All emotions acts as a trigger mechanism that sends you a signal and says, “Hey, you need to look at this. There is something here you need to learn about yourself.”

But when this happens, most people ignore it, sweep it under the rug, and procrastinate.

When you do this, the signal gets louder and builds up more pressure until the point where your life becomes out of control.

Many people who are on certain medications have contracted their dis-ease because they are avoiding some form of mental pain in their life.

This is how bad procrastination can become.

So if you do not want to feel like there is a two ton gorilla on your back where you constantly feel tired, low energy, or stressed out, use these two steps:

Step 1 – Write Down Your Fears

On a piece of paper (write them out with your hand), write them all down.

Look at them.

Contemplate them.

Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this really true?
  • What is the worst that could happen?
  • What would I have to believe is true to feel this way?

After you have spent some time looking at your fears, then you must…

Step 2 – Take Action

This is the most important part of the exercise.

You must now run towards, jump in, dive in, aggressively take action and do what you fear the most.

Think of it like this…

You are waiting in line to get on a scary rollercoaster ride with lot of big drops.

You know its coming and your stomach begins to churn.

Right as you get to the front of the line, you decide to move to the back postponing (procrastinating) the inevitable.

All you have done is added more time of anxiety and stress where your mind causes you more fear.

But if you go on the ride and deal with the first big drop, everything becomes much easier.

And, most importantly, when you get off the ride you feel stronger because you have faced your fears.

See: Motivation Techniques & Strategies

Procrastination Examples

In order to grasp the true meaning of procrastination, we’ll outline some examples:

  • Avoiding doing your homework
  • Avoiding doing your chores
  • Putting off exercising
  • Avoiding certain people you need to talk to
  • Avoiding tasks at work

Let’s say that you have a project that is due to be completed in a week’s time. You know that working on the project requires a lot of time, attention, and determination.

Nevertheless, you continually postpone working on it, assuming that you’ll have the time to get it done the night before the stressing deadline. You know that the task is of utmost importance, but you are easily distracted by all sorts of things, avoiding thinking about your responsibility.

That being said, whenever you know that something requires your immediate attention, and in spite of that, you neglect that responsibility, it means you’re procrastinating. Typically, procrastination is associated with negative consequences. For instance, if you don’t manage to complete a project, you might fail an exam, you might get fired, etc.

Basically, it is the “fear of the outcome” that is getting you to choose to procrastinate.

Concurrently, if your doctor recommended you to follow a healthy eating and exercise plan, and you continually put off applying those guidelines in your day-to-day life, then you procrastinate. That’s because you are voluntarily ignoring the guidelines that could enhance your health.

So, whenever you voluntarily postpone an intended course of action even though you anticipate the negative effects of the delay, you are coping with procrastination in its finest form and glory.

Overcoming Procrastination

Similar to most habits, overcoming procrastination is an attainable target. None of us is born a procrastinator. This is a habit that grows on you, if only you allow it to do that. On that note, we will outline a range of quintessential guidelines that will aid you to overcome procrastination.

Firstly, you shouldn’t make a big deal out of everything. Apparently, one of the primary reasons why people tend to procrastinate is because they continually think about how annoying and boring it will be to get a task done. The underlying root of procrastination is, most of the time, assuming that the task is unbearable.

In reality, hard work and overcoming challenges is part of life. Therefore, they should be seen as such. Ideally, you should alter your perspective, and change your mindset and remind yourself that you can get through a task, regardless of the difficulty level.

Secondly, procrastinators have the tendency to concentrate primarily on short-term gains, instead of long-term results. Alternatively, you should aim at establishing the imminent benefits that come with completing the task.

For instance, if you’re avoiding following an exercising program, think about the way in which that will give you an energy boost, enhance your self-esteem, and make you feel better, altogether.

Read: How to get motivated

How to Stop Procrastinating

The first thing you must do is figure out a way to associate the task at hand as something pleasurable.

Remember, you will always be motivated by something you define as being pleasurable.

Start by asking yourself these two questions:

  • What is the benefit of doing this task?
  • Why am I afraid of not doing this task?

You must get to the root cause of the issue first and:

  1. Find the benefit
  2. Face your fear

Unless you do these two things first, you will always find yourself having to force the issue and that is not how you want to live life.

Life should be full of joy and your tasks (while still challenging) should be filled with joy.

Another excellent way in which you can counteract procrastination is by breaking your work into small steps using goal setting.

Essentially, when you have an important project that seems overwhelming, you might be tempted to delay working on it because of its complexity and the amount of work it requires.

When you feel overwhelmed by a project, you will put it off because once again, the feeling of being overwhelmed is “painful”.

So, as opposed to focusing your attention on the length and difficulty of the work, instead, you can break the assignment into little ones.

If you take things one step at a time, you won’t feel as stressed and anxious as you would when you have the entire task in front of you. Only after completing one step, should you concentrate on the upcoming one, which will aid you to overcome the stress linked to work.

Also, once you start accomplishing smaller steps in the task, you will then feel good about yourself and begin to associate the project with “pleasure”.

Another efficient way in which you can stop procrastinating is by establishing strict guidelines and goals, and sticking to them. Let’s cut it down to the chase: having one deadline that is weeks away is an invite to procrastinate.

It is actually tempting you to continually delay starting to work on your project because you keep telling yourself that you have plenty of time to get it done. And when you finally start working, then it will be too late, and you experience that stress and anxiety.

The key here is to create specific deadlines. By doing that, you’ll convey each part of the task as being equally urgent.

Read: How to get motivated

How to Stop Procrastinating at Work

Procrastinating at work can be a real issue, as it will inevitably interfere with your performance and productivity. If you find yourself feeling fearful, worried, stressed out or anxious due to your procrastinating habits, it’s high-time you take action.

The first thing you must do is determine why you are procrastinating?

Is it because:

  • I am over my head and don’t know what I am doing
  • I am bored of my job and just coming here to collect a check

If you are over your head, then ask for help.

Yes, I know this can be difficult because you want to be seen as competent. Just see if there is someone you can ask.

If not, you either need to take a course to improve your skills or get a new job because you can’t keep putting stuff off because of your inadequate skills.

But if you are bored of your job and just collecting a check, it’s time to hit the restart button.

Read: What should I do with my life?

If you want to stop procrastinating at work…

For starters, it could be beneficial to establish your challenges and goals. Point the tasks you have the tendency to put off and try to determine whether there is a distinguishable pattern there. After doing that, you must elaborate the steps you should follow for completing a task. Establishing precise goals could be a way of staying motivated and on track.

However, what if it’s your emotions that prevent you from doing a good job at work?

Are you stressed out?

Filled with anxiety?

If that is the case, ask yourself: what is the element that deters you from working on the task?

Whether it’s a feeling of intimidation due to the overwhelming responsibility placed on your shoulders, or you lack the self-confidence that you can deliver a good job, you should highlight your emotions.

The next step is aiming at controlling those emotions. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you should understand that emotions are a form of energy. So, try to determine what the source of that negative energy is, as you try to overcome them. Acknowledging that you are in control of your emotions can be genuinely reassuring.

Did you ever think that the environment in which you work impacts your productivity level? That is true; even the tiniest details have a way of affecting the way in which we work.

Have a look at your working space: is it cluttered and filled with distractions? If your working space makes you want to snuggle, you should definitely do something about it and revamp your workspace.

See Also

How to Stop Procrastinating to Exercise

We all know the immeasurable benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. And a healthy lifestyle implies regular exercise and appropriate nutrition. Although we are aware of that, only a small percentage of the population is actually committed to exercising and eating healthy; that’s because it requires a lot of determination and planning.

For starters, you should be realistic regarding your exercising goals, especially when it comes to choosing a form of exercising over another one. You ought to determine which type of exercising is suitable for your lifestyle, depending on your schedule, job, so on and so forth. The things you should consider include your goals, ability to stay consistent, time to train and budget.

Secondly, you should be willing to commit to a schedule. Carefully analyze your daily activities and establish when you would be able to fit in an hour of exercising. This is the key to consistency. Trying to fit in a form of exercise that doesn’t fit in your schedule will only make you feel disappointed and discouraged.

Another way in which you can stop procrastinating to exercise is changing your mindset. As opposed to thinking that exercising is a tiring, dreary task, you should acknowledge its significance for your health.

Moreover, having an incentive to stay motivated is mandatory. Recording your fitness progress could serve as an incentive, and will increase your self-esteem. As you notice that you are becoming better and better at keeping your fitness goals, you’ll find the activity more rewarding altogether.

See Also

How to Stop Procrastinating in College

Procrastinating as a student is very common. That’s because there are certain periods when students experience unprecedented levels of stress, which determines them to overlook the imminent effects of their actions.

However, just because it is widely common, that doesn’t necessarily mean this is the only way in which you can navigate your academics. Not only that the habits linked to procrastination will negatively affect your grades, but they could affect your health, as well.

On that note, you should designate study/school-work time on your schedule. Assess your course load, and determine how much time you need to get everything done in order to avoid getting stressed out before the deadline. Having a plan will hold you accountable to get work done.

Another way in which you can fight procrastination in college is by breaking down your large, complicated assignments. Confronting with a large project is much more overwhelming than dealing with smaller tasks, one step at a time. Use your calendar and assign yourself deadlines for the completion of each task. Ideally, you should focus on completing the task a couple of days prior to the deadline. This way, you can ensure that your work is cohesive.

Another practical way in which you can fight procrastination as a student is studying with someone. Having a colleague to share your insights with can be really beneficial. It gives you something to look forward to while motivating you to remain focused on your target. Studying by yourself can be boring, which is why you might be inclined to skip it.

And lastly, you must reward yourself whenever you’ve managed to accomplish your tasks. So, always take breaks between the study sessions to get together with friends, watch your favorite movie, go out, so on and so forth. When you’re happy and healthy, you’ll be motivated to study!

See Also

How to Stop Procrastinating on Homework

Being disorganized is one of the main causes why you might be postponing your academic assignments, such as your homework. Additionally, when you’re putting off numerous tasks, you’ll naturally feel stressed and confused, and you won’t feel motivated to start working on them. On that note, you might end up in a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break.

For starters, you should work on enhancing your organizational skills. Some people are not that good at staying organized and motivated, but it is doable. So, instead of relying on your memory for doing the homework, you should write everything down. Having a planner at hand could be efficient, as you can use it to take note of the most significant upcoming tasks.

At the same time, coping with homework from different subjects is another thing that could be counterintuitive. In spite of that, many students do tend to do it. The truth is that multitasking isn’t actually effective; on the opposite. So, if you’re doing your literature and physics homework at the same time, the odds are that you won’t be able to fully concentrate on either of them.

If you want to beat procrastination, you should stick with one task at a time. This way, your homework won’t seem as overwhelming to you as it did before. Plus, after finishing each task, you’ll experience a feeling of accomplishment that will boost your self-esteem and inspire you to move onto the next task.

Additionally, your goal should be to progress, as opposed to attaining perfection overnight. Many students postpone doing their homework because they want everything to be perfect; since they know that is far from being possible, they just postpone it. The solution is to concentrate on progressing.

There isn’t such thing as the perfect timing to do homework. There isn’t such thing as perfect homework, either. These are just excuses to delay doing what you have to do. Focus on getting better, keep learning and, in time, you’ll gradually overcome the habit of procrastination.

See Also

How to Stop Procrastinating When Studying

Studying requires your full attention and concentration. Therefore, you should attempt to study only when you are efficient and energized. Truth be told, each of us has his/her own body clock. While others may be most productive early in the morning, others are more productive in the evening. So, it’s up to you to determine the ideal time for studying.

Another strategy is prioritizing. Make a list of all your assignments, and determine which one is the most urgent of them. Afterward, direct your full attention towards studying for that exam or subject. As we said before, multitasking will only make you feel confused, stressed out and overwhelmed.

Also, establish specific goals. You’ll be more likely to study at a given hour of the day, than simply planning to study sometime during the week. In fact, if you don’t make a clear plan, you’ll just keep postponing it.

Essentially, you are in control of your mind, which means you can do anything you want, as long as you work in that direction. Instead of complaining that you have a lot to study, remind yourself the purpose you have to do that, and the negative consequences that will emerge if you keep postponing it.

See Also

How to Overcome Procrastination and Laziness

Many people want to be productive round the clock, feeling awful if they don’t manage to do that. Still, this goal isn’t necessarily attainable. Your purpose should be to live a balanced life.

Perhaps the primary reason why you tend to procrastinate is that you have too many things going on, and you don’t want to admit that. Still, if that isn’t the problem, and the root of your procrastination is laziness, you should attempt at overcoming it by replacing your old habits with new ones.

So, instead of postponing each responsibility, you should do whatever you can immediately. For instance, if you have to make a call or write an email, do it on the spot, as opposed to delaying it.

However, if something requires more of your time and attention, simply jot it down your calendar and put time aside for taking care of that.

You should try to visualize the consequences of each decision you make. Don’t be scared to get out of your comfort zone. Life is about leaving your comfort zone and learning to surpass challenges and obstacles.

Procrastination Tips

Acknowledging that you have the tendency to procrastinate when it comes to important things is the first step you can make towards breaking the habit. So, focus on developing an awareness habit, and in time, you’ll realize the specific triggers of your procrastination. Living in denial won’t help you – on the opposite.

Another great way of overcoming procrastination is by attaching all tasks to particular goals. As soon as you do that, you’ll realize that even the most insignificant task or activity is associated with effects – be them beneficial or negative.

Furthermore, you should establish some accountability for your tasks. If you’re naturally inclined to just hang out doing nothing immediately after starting the day, you need an extra push. People tend to procrastinate because it’s much easier to do nothing than to push themselves to complete a task that is potentially unpleasant. So, one of the best things you could do is holding yourself accountable for each important goal.

You can do that by sharing your progress and success in your diary, or talking about it with your partner, best friend, so on and so forth. Having someone reliable in whom you can confide can help you out, especially when you’ve lost track of your goals.

One great way to get more done is by conditioning your mind using affirmations, positive quotes, and motivational & inspirational quotes. Spend a few minutes each day reading them and you will start to feel pumped up!

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