Procrastination: How to Overcome this Bad Habit

Procrastination is the act of purposely delaying or postponing a task that needs to be done. It’s often associated with laziness or lack of motivation, but this isn’t always the case. There are many legitimate reasons why someone might procrastinate, such as being overwhelmed by the task at hand, feeling unqualified or unprepared, or simply not knowing where to start.

Despite its negative connotations, procrastination can sometimes be a helpful coping mechanism. For example, if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, putting off tasks can be a way of avoiding uncomfortable feelings or situations. In these cases, procrastination can actually be a form of self-care.

The key to overcoming procrastination is to identify why you’re avoiding the task in question. Once you have a better understanding of your motivations, you can start to come up with strategies for dealing with them. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, for example, you might need to seek out help from a therapist or counselor. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might need to break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps.

No matter what your reason for procrastinating is, there are always ways to overcome it.  Here are some general tips that may help you overcome procrastination and achieve your goals:

1. Make a plan

If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s easy to put things off. When you have a specific plan of action laid out in front of you, it’s easier to get started on the task at hand.

2. Set deadlines

If there are specific dates by which you need to have a task completed, set yourself a deadline and put it in your diary. This will give you something to aim for, which can motivate you to do the work ahead of time so that you have plenty of free time to prepare yourself or even relax on the day itself!

3. Stay hydrated

It’s easy to forget about drinking water when you’re busy working, but staying hydrated is important for our cognitive functions. Try not to let yourself get too thirsty as this can make concentrating difficult. If you are struggling to concentrate, stop what you are doing and drink a glass of water – your brain will thank you for it later!

4. Break down big projects into manageable pieces

One of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is that we think a task will be too big and overwhelming to complete in one go. If you break down long-term projects into manageable chunks, however, they stop feeling like such a daunting prospect and it becomes easier to take them on. Smaller tasks are much easier to digest than large ones!


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5. Set yourself rewards for completing smaller steps towards your goal

If you set yourself little incentives along the way, it can give you the motivation to get started on a task even when you don’t feel like it. For example, if there’s a TV show that has been on your “to watch list” for months, promise yourself that you’ll only watch one episode every time you complete a certain number of tasks towards your goal. This way, you’ll be more likely to stick to your plan and eventually finish the task at hand!

6. Get someone to hold you accountable

If you have trouble motivating yourself, enlisting the help of a friend or family member can be a great way to stay on track. Let them know about your goals and ask them to check in with you regularly to see how you are doing. You could even agree to do something together as a reward once you have completed your task!

7. Take some time for yourself

While it’s important to be productive and work towards our goals, it’s also important to take some time for ourselves. If we don’t allow ourselves to relax and rejuvenate, we’ll eventually burn out. Schedule some time each day – or even each week – to do something that you enjoy, without feeling guilty about it. This can be something as simple as taking a walk outdoors, reading a book, or taking a yoga class.

8. Get enough sleep

Chronic lack of sleep is one of the biggest enemies of productivity and can easily lead to procrastination. When we’re tired, our cognitive functions are degraded and it becomes difficult to focus on anything other than getting some shut-eye. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep every night so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!

9. Find ways to procrastinate productively

Procrastination doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. If you find yourself avoiding certain tasks that you really should be doing, see if there’s something else you could take on in their place that might even help you achieve your long-term goals! For example, someone who is stuck in a rut and doesn’t feel like they’re making any progress in their career may want to try out some new skills or explore an area of interest instead. This way, not only will you take steps towards achieving your goal; but also develop yourself professionally at the same time!

10. Get organized

This can be applied to both work and home life: Plan out everything you need to do in advance and make a list of what you need to get done. This will help you to visualize what you need to do and will make it less daunting. When everything is written down, it’s easy to see what still needs to be done and where you might be able to fit in some extra tasks. Having an organizational system in place can really help reduce the amount of stress that comes with procrastination!

Source: Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)

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