How Can I Overcome Procrastination?

Procrastination is defined as habitually putting something off until tomorrow that should be done today. Charles Dickens referred to it as the “thief of time”. For those affected, it can be a frustrating and needless behaviour, yet it is a rare person who does not procrastinate. So why do we do it?



Procrastination is almost always a symptom of fear. There is a part of you that wants to put off unpleasant activities because you have a fear of not doing it well or of not liking to do it. You tell yourself that you will do it in the future, yet you think about it every day until it gets done.

However, there can be benefits to procrastinating. There are some people who are hooked on the excitement of getting things done at the last minute. It worked for them in the past, and it then becomes a reinforced behaviour.

To overcome procrastination, firstly realize and accept that a miracle won’t happen; you will have to do the task! Also, look at the words you are saying to yourself about the task. They have feelings attached to them which affect your experience of that task. Change the words “have to”, “should” and “maybe” to “choose to” and “I will”.



Work out what you would gain from it. You might choose to sort this out yourself, or use the services of a skilled therapist to help you overcome some old subconscious fears. Understand that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing thinking.

Motivate yourself by focusing on your strengths. Think of what you have accomplished so far and feel good about that. Remind yourself that you have been and will be successful.

Procrastination is often linked to anxieties about the quality of your work. If this happens, remember that it’s better to produce something rather than nothing. So just start it and you will be amazed at how little time it actually takes to get done. If you work better with deadlines then consider setting your own. This way you can free up your time and spend it wisely.


Finally, by giving up procrastination you give up your fear of the future. Indecision and fear of the future are almost the same thing. So imagine that you have a wonderful future that is just around the corner. What is there to fear if wonderful things are always going to come your way? 



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