If you're reading this, chances are you're looking for the answer to how to stop procrastinating. And if you're looking for ways to stop procrastinating, chances are you've been doing it for a while. Maybe you're even a pro at it.
But why do we procrastinate in the first place? It's not like we enjoy putting things off or making things harder for ourselves. So what is it that drives us to do it?
There could be a lot of reasons. Maybe we're afraid of failure. Or maybe we're just really good at convincing ourselves that whatever it is, it can wait until later.
Whatever the reason, procrastination is something that we all struggle with at times. But that doesn't mean we have to give in to it.
In this post, we’ll discuss different types and strategies to overcome procrastination that can help you improve your own life.
What Exactly is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of putting off or delaying something. We've all been there – you have an important task or project that's due soon, but instead of getting started on it right away, you find yourself doing anything and everything else but what you're supposed to be doing.
Maybe you start cleaning your room, browsing the internet, or watching TV. Self-control goes out of the window. You know procrastination is a normal part of life, and everyone does it to some degree.
However, when procrastination becomes excessive or starts to interfere with your ability to function in day-to-day life, it can become a problem.
Chronic procrastination can lead to stress and even mental health problems related to anxiety and depression. It can also negatively impact your work or school performance, your relationships, and your overall health.
What Type of Procrastinator Are You?
Most people are familiar with the concept of procrastination, but what they may not know is that there are actually two different types: Active and Passive.
- Active procrastination is when you consciously choose to put off something that you know you should be doing.
- Passive procrastination, on the other hand, is when you're not even aware that you're procrastinating!
So, which type are you? If you're not sure, here's a quick quiz to help you find out.
1. You have a big project due next week, and it's currently the night before it's due. What do you do?
a) Stay up all night working on it and get it done as best as you can.
b) Put it off until the last minute and then do a rushed job.
c) Work on it little by little each day so that it's not as daunting.
2. You're studying for an exam, but you keep getting distracted by your phone. What do you do?
a) Turn your phone off so you can focus.
b) Keep it on in case someone needs to get ahold of you.
c) Put it on silent and put it away from you so you're less tempted to look at it.
3. A friend asks if you want to go out for drinks after work, but you know you have a lot of work to catch up on. What do you do?
a) Go out for drinks and worry about work later.
b) Stay home and get some work done.
c) Compromise and go out for a drink or two, but then head home to finish up your work.
If you answered mostly “a”s, you're an active procrastinator.
This means that you're consciously choosing to put off what you should be doing in favor of other things. And while there's nothing necessarily wrong with this, it can often lead to feelings of guilt and stress.
If you answered mostly “b”s, you're a passive procrastinator.
This means that you're not even aware that you're procrastinating! Passive procrastination is often more harmful than active procrastination because it can lead to things being put off for so long that they become overwhelming.
If you answered mostly “c”s, you're a balanced procrastinator.
This means that you're aware of your tendency to procrastinate and you're working on finding a healthy balance between getting things done and taking breaks.
No matter what type of procrastinator you are, remember that it's okay to take breaks! Just be sure to set limits so that you don't find yourself falling behind.
4 Signs That Your Procrastination Has Become Problematic
For some people, procrastination is simply a bad habit. But for others, it can be a serious problem that leads to missed deadlines, lost opportunities, and even job loss.
There's no shame in admitting that you're a procrastinator. We all are, to some extent. But when your procrastination habit starts to interfere with your ability to live life normally, it’s something to worry about.
If you find yourself constantly putting things off, it may be time to take a closer look at your procrastination habit. Here are some signs that your procrastination has become problematic:
1. You're Always Behind Schedule
If you're constantly finding yourself behind schedule, it's a good indication that your procrastination habit is out of control. When you're constantly putting things off, it's hard to catch up and get things done on time.
2. You're Always Scrambling to Finish Things at the Last Minute
If you find yourself constantly scrambling to finish things at the last minute, it's another sign that your procrastination has become problematic. When you're constantly putting things off, it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you're always running behind.
3. You’re Consumed With Guilt
Chronic procrastination can lead to guilt. When we constantly put off things that we know we should be doing, we start to feel guilty about it. This guilt can eat away at us and make us feel even more stressed out and overwhelmed. It can also lead to anxiety and depression in some cases.
4. You're Starting to Feel Stressed Out
If your procrastination habit is starting to cause you to stress, it's definitely a sign that it's become problematic. When you're constantly putting things off, it's easy to feel like you're never going to get everything done. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety.
5. You're Avoiding Certain Tasks Altogether
If you find yourself avoiding certain tasks altogether, it's a sure sign that your procrastination has become a problem. When you're constantly putting things off, it's easy to start avoiding the things you don't want to do. This can lead to even more procrastination and can make it even harder to get things done.
6. You Get Frequent Headaches
There's nothing quite like the feeling of a headache coming on. The throbbing, the pressure, the pain… It's enough to make anyone want to curl up in a dark room and hide from the world.
But did you know that procrastination can actually be one of the causes of frequent headaches? That's right – those pesky little things we tend to put off until tomorrow can actually have a major impact on our health.
When we procrastinate, we often do so because we're feeling overwhelmed by a task or project. But putting off that work can actually lead to even more stress, which can in turn trigger headaches.
That's because when we're stressed, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because it helps us deal with difficult situations.
But when cortisol levels are constantly high, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including headaches. So if you find yourself reaching for the ibuprofen more often than you'd like, take a look at your workload and see if there's anything you can do to lighten the load.
7. You’re Facing Digestive Issues
Procrastination can indirectly also take a toll on your gut health. How? When you're anxious or stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode.
This increases inflammation throughout your body, including in your gut. Inflammation can lead to digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as other health problems.
So if you're prone to procrastination, it's important to find ways to manage your stress and anxiety levels.
If you're noticing any of these signs, it's definitely time to take a closer look at your procrastination habit.
What Are the Consequences of Chronic Procrastination?
If you're a chronic procrastinator, you know the drill all too well. You start off with good intentions, telling yourself that you'll get started on that project/paper/task right away. But before you know it, hours have passed and you've accomplished nothing.
The consequences of chronic procrastination can be serious. Let's take a look at some of them:
1. Reduced Productivity
This is perhaps the most obvious consequence of procrastination. When you put off tasks, you're less likely to get them done in a timely manner (if at all). This can lead to falling behind at work or school, and ultimately, reduced productivity.
2. Missed Deadlines
Chronic procrastination often leads to missed deadlines. This is because the longer you wait to start a task, the less time you have to complete it. As a result, you're more likely to rush through the task and make mistakes.
3. Increased Stress
When you procrastinate, you often end up working under pressure and this can lead to increased stress levels. Not only is this bad for your health, but it can also impact the quality of your work.
4. Experiencing More Negative Emotions
Chronic procrastination can also lead to negative emotions such as guilt, shame, and anxiety. This is because you may feel like you're not living up to your potential or that you're wasting your time.
If you're a chronic procrastinator, it's important to be aware of the consequences of your actions. By understanding the potential impact of procrastination, you can be more motivated to change your behavior.
How to Stop Procrastinating: 7 Tips to Keep You On Track
The first step to overcoming procrastination is acknowledging that you have a problem. If you find yourself constantly putting off important tasks, then it's time to take action. Here are some tips that can help you stop procrastinating.
1. Understand Why You Procrastinate
There are a few things you can do to beat procrastination. First, figure out why you're procrastinating in the first place. Here are some common reasons people procrastinate and put off tasks that they know they are supposed to do:
- You're bored with the task at hand.
- You don't see the point of doing it.
- The task is too difficult or challenging.
- You're not in the mood.
- You don't have the energy.
- You're procrastinating on other things, so this is just another thing to add to the list.
- It's not a priority for you right now.
- You're feeling overwhelmed and/or stressed about it.
- You're afraid you'll fail or do a bad job at it.
- You're perfectionistic and/or have performance anxiety around it… which then leads to procrastination because you don't want to start until you're sure you can do it perfectly.
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, you're not alone—these are all common reasons why people procrastinate. But the good news is that there are ways to overcome each of these obstacles. Let’s discuss how you can get past some of these issues.
Procrastination Reason #1: What to Do If You’re Bored With a Task
If you're bored with the task at hand, try to find a way to make it more interesting or fun.
For example, if you're doing paperwork, listen to music or an audiobook while you work. If you're cleaning the house, put on some upbeat music and dance around as you clean.
Or if you're studying for a test, come up with a game or competition with yourself to see how quickly you can get through the material.
Procrastination Reason #2: What to Do If You Don’t See the Point of Doing a Task
If you don't see the point of doing something, ask yourself what the consequences would be if you didn't do it.
For example, if you're procrastinating on doing your taxes, you may end up owing money to the government. Or if you're procrastinating on studying for a test, you may end up getting a bad grade.
Sometimes, seeing the potential negative consequences of not taking action can be just the motivation you need to get started.
Procrastination Reason #3: What to Do If a Task Is Very Difficult
If a task is too difficult or challenging, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.
For example, if you're procrastinating on starting a new exercise routine, commit to walking for five minutes a day for the first week. Then increase the time by five minutes each week until you're up to 30 minutes a day.
Or if you're procrastinating on writing a paper, start by writing one paragraph. Then add another paragraph each day until the paper is done.
Procrastination Reason #4: What to Do If You’re Not in the Mood to Finish a Task
If you're not in the mood to do something, try to change your attitude or mindset about it. For example, if you're procrastinating about going for a run, tell yourself that you're just going to walk for five minutes and see how you feel after that.
Often, once you get started, you'll find that your mood changes and you end up doing more than you originally intended.
Procrastination Reason #5: What to Do If You’re Don’t Have the Energy to Finish a Task
If you don't have the energy to do something, try changing your lifestyle habits to give yourself more energy.
You know you should get enough sleep to stay healthy and function at your best, but did you know that getting enough shut-eye can also help you stop procrastinating?
That's right – if you're finding it hard to motivate yourself to start or finish tasks, it could be due to a lack of sleep.
When you're tired, your brain has a harder time focusing and making decisions, so it's no wonder that you might find it difficult to get started on something when you're feeling exhausted.
Getting a good night's sleep can help improve your focus and concentration, which will in turn make it easier for you to get started on tasks and see them through to the end.
So if you're struggling with procrastination, make sure you're getting enough naps during the day – your to-do list will thank you for it!
Similarly, make sure you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as other healthy foods that will give you sustained energy throughout the day.
When you have lots of energy and are in a good mood, it's easier to focus on what you need to do and get it done quickly. However, when you're feeling tired and sluggish, it's much harder to motivate yourself to do anything, let alone something that requires a lot of effort.
Sometimes, making small changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in your energy levels.
Procrastination Reason #6: What to Do If You’re Procrastinating on Multiple Things
If you're procrastinating on other things, try to find a way to get those things done first so that this task isn't looming over your head.
For example, if you're procrastinating on doing laundry because you need to clean the kitchen first, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much progress you can make on both tasks.
Or if you're procrastinating on paying bills because you need to declutter your home first, set a timer for 30 minutes and work on both tasks at the same time.
Procrastination Reason #7: What to Do If a Task Doesn’t Seem Like a Priority
If something isn't a priority for you, ask yourself why. Are you spending time on unimportant tasks? If so, then you may want to reconsider whether or not you should be doing it at all.
But if it's not a priority because there are other things that are more important to you, then try to find a way to fit it into your schedule.
For example, if you're procrastinating on calling your parents because you're too busy with work, try setting aside 15 minutes each day to call them.
Or if you're procrastinating on going to the gym because you don't have time, try going for a walk around the block instead.
Procrastination Reason #8: What to Do If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed or Stressed
It's easy to fall into the trap of procrastination when you're feeling stressed or overworked. After all, who wants to do more work when they're already feeling overwhelmed?
But unfortunately, this can often make the situation worse, as the work you're avoiding can start to pile up and become even more daunting.
If you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it can be tough to stay focused and get things done. But there are some simple things you can do to help yourself out.
First, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. It might seem counterintuitive, but if you're feeling anxious, taking some time to calm down can actually help you focus better.
Once you're feeling more relaxed, make a list of the tasks you need to do. Seeing everything written down in one place can help you feel less overwhelmed.
Then, start with the easiest task on your list. Getting something crossed off will give you a sense of accomplishment and make it easier to tackle the next thing on your list.
And if you find yourself starting to procrastinate again, just remind yourself that you can handle this. Take it one step at a time.
Procrastination Reason #9: What to Do If You Think You’ll Fail at the Task
When it comes to fear of failure, procrastination is often the result. We may avoid taking action because we're afraid of not succeeding. This can lead to missed opportunities and a feeling of helplessness.
There are several ways to overcome this obstacle.
First, identify your fear. What is it that you're afraid of? Is it failing the test, not getting the job, or not being good enough? Once you know what it is, you can address it head-on.
Second, remember that everyone fails at some point. Failure is a part of life and should be viewed as an opportunity to learn and grow. You can use your past failures as motivation to succeed in the future.
Third, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are people who want to see you succeed and will be more than happy to help you out. Don't try to do everything on your own.
Finally, have faith in yourself. You have the ability to overcome your fears and achieve your goals. Believe in yourself and don't give up.
If you're facing a fear of failure, remember that you're not alone. Many people struggle with this issue. But with perseverance and determination, you can overcome it and reach your full potential.
Procrastination Reason #10: What to Do If You Think You Have Perfectionistic Tendencies
Perfectionists often have a hard time getting started on projects because they're afraid of not doing them perfectly. This can lead to procrastination, which only makes things worse.
If you find yourself procrastinating because you're worried about not doing something perfectly, try to remind yourself that perfect is the enemy of good.
You don't need to be perfect to get something done, you just need to get it done. So start small and work your way up. Don't try to do everything at once, just take it one step at a time.
You might also want to try using a technique called Parkinson's Law, which says that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
So if you give yourself a week to complete a project, it will take a week. But if you give yourself 24 hours, it will only take 24 hours. This can help you to focus and get things done more quickly.
If you find yourself procrastinating, take a step back and examine why you're doing it. Once you identify the reason, you can focus on addressing procrastination.
2. Define Your Goals
When it comes to setting goals, many of us tend to procrastinate. We tell ourselves that we'll start working on that big task tomorrow, or that we'll finally get around to tackling that goal next week.
But before we know it, months have gone by and we've accomplished nothing.
If you're tired of making excuses and putting off your goals, it's time to get serious about setting them. Here are three things you need to keep in mind while defining your overall goals:
A. Be Specific
One way to stop procrastinating is to set specific goals. When we're vague about what we want to accomplish, it's easy to put off doing it. But if we're clear about what we want to achieve, it's much easier to take action and get it done.
For example, let's say you want to lose weight. A specific goal might be to lose 10 pounds in the next three months. A vague goal would be to lose some weight at some point.
When you have a specific goal, it's easier to come up with a plan of action and take steps to achieve it. You might decide to exercise for 30 minutes every day, or eat 500 calories less each day. With a vague goal, it's easy to make excuses and put off taking action.
So if you're looking to stop procrastinating and achieve your goals, start by setting specific goals. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and make a plan of action. This will help you stay focused and motivated, and eventually help you reach your goals.
B. Set Realistic Goals
It's no secret that setting goals is important. But what you may not know is that setting realistic goals is even more important if you want to avoid procrastination.
Procrastination often comes from feeling overwhelmed by a goal that seems impossible to achieve. When you set a goal that is too large or unrealistic, it can seem like you'll never be able to accomplish it. This can lead to feelings of discouragement and frustration, which can, in turn, lead to procrastination.
On the other hand, when you set realistic goals, you're much more likely to feel motivated to achieve them. You'll also be less likely to become discouraged if you hit a setback because you'll know that your goal is achievable.
So if you're looking to avoid procrastination, make sure you're setting realistic goals. It might seem like a small change, but it can make a big difference in your ability to get things done.
C. Set a Deadline
If there's one thing that can get you moving, it's a deadline. When you have a timeline for your goal, it becomes much easier to take action and avoid procrastination. Having a looming deadline also helps to increase your sense of urgency, which can be a powerful motivator.
Of course, setting deadlines isn't always easy. You need to be realistic about what you can achieve and make sure the deadline is achievable.
If you're struggling to stick to deadlines, try breaking the task down into smaller steps and setting a deadline for each step. This can make the task feel less daunting and help you to stay on track.
You should also avoid putting pressure on yourself by telling others about your deadline. This can often make procrastination worse as you don't want to let others down. Instead, you can use online goal-setting software like Lifetick to keep track of your progress and check time spent on different tasks.
Finally, remember that it's okay to miss a deadline occasionally. We all have off days and sometimes things just don't go to plan. Just don't let it become a habit!
3. Make a To-Do List
Sometimes, the act of just getting started is the hardest part. When you have a goal and a deadline, the next step is to make a plan. This will help you to stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by other tasks.
Break down your goal into small steps and map out when you plan to complete each task. This will ensure that you're making progress and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Make a to-do list for yourself along with deadlines for each sub-task. Once you have a plan of action, it'll be easier to get moving. You can use an online tool like Todoist to create checklists and stay organized.
There's something satisfying about crossing items off of your to-do list. It can help you feel a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to keep going.
So if you're looking for a way to stop procrastinating, a to-do list is a great place to start. Just be sure to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day, and don't try to tackle too much at once. Start small, and you'll be surprised at how much you can get done!
4. Get Rid of Distractions
There's no question that we live in a world full of distractions. From our phones to our computers, it seems like there's always something vying for our attention. And while some distractions can be benign, others can be downright destructive when it comes to our productivity.
So how do we get rid of the distractions that are preventing us from getting work done? Here are a few tips:
- Put your phone on airplane mode. This one is simple but effective. If you're trying to focus on a task, put your phone on airplane mode so you're not tempted to check it every five minutes.
- Get off social media. Social media can be a huge time suck and it's often full of distractions. If you need to focus on a task, stay off social media until you're done.
- Shut down your email. Email can be another huge distraction, especially if you have notifications turned on. If you need to focus, shut down your email program or turn off notifications.
- Work in short bursts. Sometimes the best way to get work done is to break it up into smaller chunks and take breaks in between. This way, you're not as likely to get distracted and you'll be able to come back to the task refreshed.
- Set a timer. Another way to keep yourself from getting too distracted is to set a timer for a specific amount of time and work on the task until the timer goes off. This can help you stay focused and on track.
- Find a quiet place. If you're easily distracted by your surroundings, try to find a quiet place to work. This could be a library, a coffee shop, or even just a different room in your house.
- Put on some headphones. Listening to music or white noise can help you tune out distractions and focus on the task at hand.
- Get up and move. Sometimes all you need is a change of work environment. If you're feeling stuck, get up and move to another location. This could be as simple as going for a walk around the block or working in a different room in your house.
- Use a distraction blocker. You can even use specialized platforms like Freedom to ensure that you don’t get attempted to check random things online.
Distractions are everywhere, but that doesn't mean they have to derail your productivity. By following these tips, you can learn how to get rid of distractions and focus on what's important.
5. Schedule Short Breaks
If you're like most people, you probably find it hard to take breaks during work. You may think that taking a break will make you less productive. However, the opposite works – taking regular, short breaks can actually help you be more productive and stop procrastinating.
Here's why: when you take a break, it gives your mind a chance to rest and rejuvenate. This can help you come back to your work with fresh energy and new ideas.
Additionally, taking breaks can help reduce your stress levels, which can also lead to better focus and concentration.
The point is to take your mind away from work and get it to a relaxed state. Once the break is over, get back to work. You’ll be a lot more refreshed with short breaks scheduled frequently. You can also use the time management strategy called the Pomodoro technique for this. It involves working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break. This can be repeated 4 times, after which you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.
The idea behind the Pomodoro technique is that by breaking up your work into smaller chunks, it will be easier to focus and get things done. Additionally, the breaks give you a chance to rest and rejuvenate, so that you can come back to your work refreshed and ready to continue.
If you find yourself struggling with procrastination, give the Pomodoro technique a try. It just might help you get things done!
6. Find a Work Buddy
It's no secret that procrastination is a problem for many people. It can be tough to get started on a project, especially if it's something you're not particularly excited about. But there are ways to overcome this hurdle, and one of them is by finding an accountability partner.
An accountability partner is someone who you can rely on to help keep you on track with your goals. This could be a friend, family member, or even a professional coach.
The important thing is that they understand your struggle with procrastination and are willing to help you overcome it.
There are a few ways an accountability partner can help you stay on track. They can:
- Provide motivation and encouragement when you're struggling to get started.
- Help you stay focused on your goals by holding you accountable.
- Offer support and advice when you're feeling stuck.
If you're struggling with procrastination, an accountability partner can be a valuable asset in helping you overcome this challenge. So don't hesitate to reach out to someone who you trust and start working towards your goals today!
7. Give Yourself a Rewards System
If you're looking for a surefire way to motivate yourself, or someone else, look no further than the power of rewards. Whether it's a gold star on a chart or a raise at work, tangible acknowledgment of our accomplishments can be incredibly effective in driving us to achieve more.
But what is it about rewards that make them so powerful? A lot of it has to do with psychology. When we receive a reward, our brain releases dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and motivation. This reinforces the behavior that led to the reward in the first place, making us more likely to repeat it.
Rewards work by giving us a sense of satisfaction. They tell us that we've done something right and that we should keep doing it.
In other words, rewards work because our brain is wired to respond to them. So if you're looking for a way to get yourself or someone else motivated, a well-placed reward can be just the thing.
So how can you use rewards to counter your habit of procrastination? When you have important tasks that you're dreading, give yourself a reward for completing them. The more complete tasks you have, the more rewards you give yourself.
For example, if you're putting off doing the laundry, tell yourself that you can have a cup of coffee, grab a quick solo lunch, or nap for a few minutes once you're done.
The key is to make sure the reward is something that you really want. If the reward is something that we don't really care about, it's not going to be as effective.
And make sure the reward is something that you can give yourself immediately after completing the task. This will help to create a positive association in your mind between completing the task and getting the reward.
So next time you're feeling the urge to procrastinate, remember that rewards can be a powerful tool to help you get things done. And who knows, maybe you'll even start to enjoy doing laundry!
1. Why do I procrastinate so much?
There are many reasons why people procrastinate, and it's often hard to pinpoint the exact cause. However, there are some common themes that can contribute to this problem:
Fear of Failure
Lack of Interest
Feeling burnout or overwhelmed
2. How do I stop procrastinating once and for all?
There's no magic bullet when it comes to procrastination, but there are some things you can do to make it less of a problem. Here are a few tips:
Make a list of what you need to do and set priorities.
Break down big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
Set a time limit for each task.
Schedule regular breaks
Get rid of distractions
Work with an accountability partner
Give yourself rewards after completing tasks
3. Which tools can help to stop procrastination?
There are numerous tools available to help people stop procrastinating. Some popular options include:
For time management: Todoist
For mindfulness and meditation: Headspace
For tracking productivity: Beeminder
For goal setting and accountability: LifeTick
For cutting out distractions: Freedom
4. Which are some ways to stop procrastinating?
Here are some tips you can follow to stop procrastination:
Make a to-do list.
Break down big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
Set a realistic time limit for each task.
Schedule regular breaks.
Get rid of distractions.
Find a work buddy.
Give yourself rewards for task completion.
5. Does the Pomodoro technique work for procrastination?
Yes, the Pomodoro technique is one of the most popular time management techniques out there You can use it to stop procrastination. It involves working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break. This can be repeated 4 times, after which you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.
Ready to Stop Procrastinating?
There's no denying it: we all procrastinate from time to time. Whether it's putting off a work project, avoiding the gym, or simply scrolling through social media instead of getting started on that pesky to-do list, we've all been there.
If you want to break the procrastination habit once and for all, use the tips mentioned in this article on how to stop procrastinating. You’ll be able to boost your productivity and get more things done. Get started on your personal development journey today! Your future self will thank you for it.
Do you have any questions about how to stop procrastination? Please feel free to add them in the comments section below.