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What Can I Do to Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing? 8 Things to Do Now

Updated on February 6, 2018
Cyndi10 profile image

Cynthia - a freelance writer believing in the power of words. She writes about travel, family, business, gardening, and health & wellness.


Stop Procrastinating

Nearly everyone on the planet is guilty of procrastinating at some time. In fact, some are guiltier than others, and those who are guilty concur that it is the ultimate nonproductive habit. Unfortunately, once started, it is very difficult to know how to stop procrastinating. The good news is that there are some very useful tips for stepping up and start doing.

"Shoulda, woulda, coulda..." these are not just examples of bad grammar, but are much worse: these three words are examples of bad thoughts. These three words sum up and define procrastination - the roadblock to success in business, entrepreneurship, relationships and just about anything that requires action. Procrastination is a thief. If you don't learn tips to stop procrastinating and start doing, procrastination can have such a negative impact on your life that it can jeopardize your ability to achieve your life goals, interfere with your relationships and hamper your business or career.

If we are truthful, we have all been guilty of procrastination sometime in life. Apple founder, Steve Jobs, probably succumbed to procrastination at some point, but it is obvious that he was wise enough to stop procrastinating long enough to make Apple the company it is today.

Granted, there might be times when there is a valid reason to put off a task until later, but the majority of the time a task is willingly delayed merely because the task is distasteful, difficult or you are unsure of how to complete it.

Life may pass you by if you don't stop procrastinating and start doing what you set out to accomplish.
Life may pass you by if you don't stop procrastinating and start doing what you set out to accomplish. | Source

Start Doing

So, what do we do to overcome what can be a massive roadblock to success. There are many people who have admirably developed methods to get around the worldwide problem. If you have developed your own techniques to bury that psychological obstruction, that is wonderful. It is far easier to adopt techniques you have developed because you will be much more likely to continue to use those techniques. But there are methods available for those who haven't yet found what works.

Procrastination is an insidious impediment to achieving your goals. For example, you stop writing to play with the dog, which then becomes time to walk the dog, which then becomes time to groom the dog. One thing leads to another and the day slips away. While many tasks related to the dog's well being were completed, your original goal and task of writing the article was not.

Get off that procrastination treadmill. It's a lot of effort to get you nowhere. A lot of effort because the task facing you is replaced by other, often meaningless or nonproductive busy work.

What can you do about proscrastination? Are there any habits you can develop to counter the urge to lay the task aside until you can't put it off any longer? The news is that there are actions you can take. I've listed a few here, not in any particular order.

Make a To Do List


Tips to Stop Procrastining

  1. Make that ubiquitous to do list
    . Lists are not overrated when it comes to procrastinators. List the tasks that need to be completed. Break each task into subtasks to make the work more palatable.
  2. Provide yourself positive reenforcement for completing the task. As you continue to complete tasks, you will become less and less likely to put things off because you will have conditioned yourself to anticipate a pleasant rewad. For example, finish your bills far in advance of their due date then treat yourself to a latte or an afternoon in the park. Your reward does not have to extravagant, but it should be something that gives you pleasure and should fit the size and difficulty of the task you have completed.
  3. Create a calendar of tasks. Assign a date to each task and assign dates to any subtasks you have identified within the larger task. If you can, assign the time that you will finish the task or subtask.
  4. Consider the consequences. What happens if you don't act on that task in a timely manner? Some consequences may be minor, others may have a huge impact on you that reach far into the future. Don't overlook that.
  5. Plan your day early. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, review the things that need to be accomplished that day. Be sure to include any tasks you may be avoiding. This is the time to embrace the quote "never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today."
  6. Have a "big picture" mentality. How will procrastination impede your progress to achieving your goals, realizing your vision? How will actions make those goals a reality?
  7. Enlist the aid of a "coach" (or friend, family member, business partner) for feedback and to keep you on track.
  8. Visualize the task as completed. It will help to begin with the end clearly in sight. This means the mental exercise of performing the steps to completing the task. See the end product and see yourself collecting your reward.

Procrastination is romping with your cute and cuddly dog when you have a project deadline.
Procrastination is romping with your cute and cuddly dog when you have a project deadline. | Source

Take a moment to think of the times and ways procrastination may have negatively impacted your life. Did you send in that college application on time or did you wait until the last minute, maybe even missed the deadline and settled for a different university because you didn't act in time? How about that term paper or that grant, that financial report, all having deadlines; did you meet them? Did you start your project immediately or did you wait until the eleventh or twelfth hour? What about those taxes? Are you always searching for that wayward gas receipt on April 14th when taxes are due on April 15th?

Often, when you delay a task until later or until the last minute, an emergency or crisis will invariably emerge, which necessitates putting the task off even longer. You will be uncomfortable in some other way while trying to complete the task. For example, you wait until a week before a term paper is due, when you've known the due date for a month. That last week, unfortunately, is the week you come down with the flu, causing you to struggle to finish the paper while you're miserably sick. A stellar paper will not be the result. That crisis could have been avoided had you created an earlier deadline and not procrastinated until the last minute to start the paper.

Stop procrastinating - pick up the pen and write!
Stop procrastinating - pick up the pen and write! | Source

Share Your Solutions to Stop Procrastinating

For some, procrastination is an ever present temptation. Arm yourself with the best weapons to stop procrastination before it snares you and creates a crisis which is a precursor to stress and all the health issues it can cause.The good news is that procrastination can be conquered. Being fully aware of when you are procrastinating is one of the biggest steps you can take to stop procrastination. Following the simple steps outlined here can help keep you on track when procrastination threatens.

You may have other techniques and ideas to stop procrastination. Don't hesitate to share them in the comment section. Your solution may help someone else.

© 2012 Cynthia B Turner


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    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hello jpcmc, That is interesting. I suppose the procrastination would be more a conscious decision to delay a course of action to be sure it is the right action to take. That is an example of making it work in your favor. Most people delay action for other reasons that rarely has anything to do with a deliberate plan. I appreciate the comment.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      There's an interesting research publiched in the Harvard Business Review (I think - I can't recall) that some great business people use procrastination as a tool to wait out some decisions. This gives them time to evaluate and choose the best course of action. But of course this is not applicable to everyone. I guess it's how you use the tools you have to become better.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi maggs, I'm sure your could start a support group, but then all those who need to belong would find other things to divert their attention from attending the meetings :-) Thanks so much for reading and glad you found it useful.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      An excellent hub I love the idea of a list but I always seem to lose my lists or forget about them and I am so easily distracted.

      Like now I am trying to catch up on my comments which I have been meaning to do today, but instead I ended up reading Hubs (yours is not the only one) I suppose I should be saying "Hi my name is Maggs and I am a procrastinator :("

      Voting up and clicking interesting and useful

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Sandy, You are soooo correct when you say that procrastination is exhausting. It's so much better to do what needs to be done, but it takes discipline at first. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

    • Sandy Frost profile image

      Sandy Frost 6 years ago from India

      An excellent hub on a nice topic. Procrastination is really an exhausting habit. It puts a person in stress, messing with more and more irregularities in routine tasks as well as other important to-do works. Delaying and pending these schedules even cause lack of concentration and vigour also while someone is dealing with such a habit of putting things off.

      Thanks for sharing this detailed hub, it helps a lot. Awesome, voted up.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hey, hope it helps. Sometimes just need a plan and nudge. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 6 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Great advice! Handy to have this all laid out for me. Maybe this will give me the push to get organized!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Good Morning, Procrastination can cost us in ways we may not be aware of until too late. I'm so glad you think the list and the hub is useful. I really appreciate the votes and sharing! Thank you.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 6 years ago from Australia

      I know that procrastination treadmill too well. It can be comfortable at the time, but totally self defeating and negative in the long run. Your list is very useful, and thinking about the consequences helps. Very useful hub, thank you Cyndi. My votes, best wishes and sharing!!!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Awesome! I have yet to start on your excerpts, but, guess what? They're on my list. Sounds as if you have found your way through the procrastination. The daily review definitely helps me, but I must admit, I start with my list in the morning. If some of the things I accomplished during the day weren't on the list, I add them at the end of the day. My habits are a blend of the two lists. We all have time wasters somewhere in the day. It's recognizing and getting it under control that's important to making sure productive activities dominate. I'm in morning mode now, so you have a creative day.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I like that end of day list idea, Cyndi10. I do do something like that. When I go to bed at night, I get comfortable under my covers in the dark and think about what I got done or got solved or made progress on that day. I leave for morning thinking about what's left undone or unsolved. By the way, my 12 minutes of going against the inertia of procrastination did work for me today. At first in between each 12 minutes of taking care of business I had a nap or ate something or puttered at apartment chores or played Bookworm, but by late afternoon I was focused on my work and taking few breaks. Result: I replaced the photos in my Kalamazoo hub with better ones and added two YouTube videos and I posted a link to my new Excerpts hubs on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Progress!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      So classic. The timer is a great idea. I suggested recently to someone recently to start a list in reverse. End each day with everything you have done, rather than start with a list. You won't want to end the day with a blank piece of paper. Thanks so much for taking time to read me as part of your list.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Guilty as charged. I have lists galore (I use and Zhorn Software Stickies), Google calendars, and good intentions, and I keep busy doing useful things (such as hubtivity), but I avoid taking care of business. I wonder if there is a 12-step program for procrastinators.

      What works for me, sort of, is to stop the busywork I am doing, sit quietly doing nothing, and ask myself, "While keeping so busy, what have I mainly been not doing?" Then I set a timer for 10, 12, 15, or whatever minutes and agree with myself to get at least that much done of that. Back in 12 minutes.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      If you've been at the laundry all day, I would say you can cross that off your list. I agree with you, the list is a great weapon. If my hub helped at all, I glad! Keep moving :-) Thanks for reading.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Oh... I am the queen of procastination. For instance, I am procastinating right now... I should really finish folding that last load of laundry so I can get the clothes put away. However, I have been doing laundry all day long and don't much feel like doing it anymore. When it comes to overcoming procastination - my best weapon is the list. However, I have been known to procastinate making the list as well!

      Great hub! Maybe this will motivate me to get moving! :)

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      I think you are right; there is some kind of thrill or sense of excitement when you're at the very limit of your time to finish a task. All that adrenaline can be addictive. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting hub Cyndi10 and great tips as I could get an Olympic gold in procrastination! It is interesting how many of cannot do things until the last minute, its almost as there is some kind of thrill in it

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Sinea,

      Thank you for reading my article. It's so easy not to do what you intend to, I'm glad that you took the time to read about procrastination and to leave a comment.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Very wise advice. Voted up and useful.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia


      The procrastinators creed, huh? Yep, that one is always trying to sneak in on me. I try to say strong:-) I'm so glad you found me through Vinaya. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment or should I say, not procrastinating! LOL

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 6 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi Cyndi10!

      Before I procrastinate let me just say, "Great Hub" with tips to help all of us. Voted up, useful and interesting! I also what to thank Vinaya for recommending you.

      Here's the procrastinators creed, "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow and never put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely!" LOL:)

      Guess you know I've been there a few times.

      Thank you for your work!


    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      OMG! I saved her!. No, wait...wait... wait. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Glad you stopped in anyway!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Cyndi10....I REPENT! You have saved me! Your words have power. Cruel world, forgive me. Never again will I not finish what I have sta.....................

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello, thank you for not procrastinating about leaving a comment :-). I agree. he longer you put something off, the more likely you are to let it linger on. I appreciate the votes!

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 6 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      Me, guilty of ever procrastinating? Never I tell you! Lol, I agree, the majority of us are guilty. I have gotten better over the years. That may be the key. It seems as you get older, the more you put off, the more time it seemingly takes to finally get around to it! Great hub! Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Fastfreta, Thank you for reading. I can't think my article is much, much better, just different. I need prompts and lists to keep all the "fires going" or I'll slip into procrastination. Not a good thing. Glad you thought enough to this to bookmark.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      What a great article, similar to one I wrote, but much, much better with great advice. I never thought that I was a procrastinator, until I had time on my hands. When I was younger I always accomplished my tasks. I was the proverbial person of whom they spoke, when they said, "if you want something done ask a busy person. I was that person, but now, I almost never finish what I started. I'll embark upon several tasks a day and never finish any. Thanks for the advice, I'm going to bookmark this one and get back to it, (not), lol, anyway I really can use these suggestions.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Debbie, I really have to reign myself in sometimes as well, especially when it comes to hubpages. Now Hubpages is one of my rewards for finishing a task. If I've been of some help, I'm really glad! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 6 years ago from Greece

      I'm easily side tracked - which I realize is really me procrastinating. Like now, I've sat at the computer with the intention of printing some stuff. The printer isn't even on and I'm reading Hubs instead!! It is a bad habit that I'm kind of aware I'm doing.

      Your hub gives some good tips to help stop this bad habit....I should really give them a try!!

      An interesting hub that did hit a nerve with me....

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      My pleasure to follow you.

    • NetBlots profile image

      NetBlots 6 years ago from Melbourne

      No worries, I always seem to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind hahaha

      Cheers for the follow back! =D

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      You are so right. Don't concentrate on the consequences, but definitely have a healthy awareness of them. Concentrate on that reward so that you can have a positive outcome in mind. Thanks so much for leaving a comment.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      As always, thank you so much for bookmarking and for highlighting it on your Facebook page! You are awesome. And from what I see you don't procrastinate when it comes to your writing, which I enjoy so much.

    • NetBlots profile image

      NetBlots 6 years ago from Melbourne

      Oh - wouldn't it be best to more so be aware of the consequences rather than concentrating on them? If you concentrate on them you'll be more drawn to them on a sub concious level.


    • NetBlots profile image

      NetBlots 6 years ago from Melbourne

      @Frank - x 2 on that one!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ....I am the biggest prorastinator in the book so this is a most helpful hub subject for me to bookmark and will also be highlighted on my Facebook page with a direct link back here - this is your day my friend to shine on my Facebook marquee page ...... lake erie time 11:46am

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello adaus2011, love your t-shirt! I feel like that sometimes, too :-) Thanks for taking a moment to read.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      So glad I could be of help today. Thank you so much for reading.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      Rated up for useful...I needed the reminder today that this hub provided. Blessings.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello, You are so right! When the habit is broken life is easier. Funny, how we think putting things off is what makes us feel good. Unfortunately, that's only short term. I'm glad you found the tips useful. Thank you for reading. I'm going to yours now.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the read. I'm guilty of procrastinating when it comes to housework and I have nothing to bail me out :-)

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      It sounds a bit like me and my housework, but then I realize I have a nerve hand problem, Joyce.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Frank, when you finish the chores, reward yourself by doing nothing the rest of the day! You will have earned it. Thanks for reading.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 6 years ago from Shelton

      sometimes I am guilty of procrastination.. these are useful tips.. and thanks for that kick in the butt because this morning I was going to wake up and do nothing.. I was just going to stay in doors in my bairthday suit and listen to Mars Lazy Song :) but Im headed out to complete some chores :)


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