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How to Stop Procrastinating

Updated on October 7, 2013

If you are anything like me, you have times when procrastination paralyzes you completely into non-action! Sometimes, when approaching a task, I find myself distracted. Why write a report when the dishes need cleaning? Why clean the dishes when my favorite show is on? This process of avoiding what I need to do can be plain exhausting ! Faced with the process of another day of avoidance, I began asking myself, “How can I break the habit of procrastination?” I even reached out to friends for their tips. Instead of doing my laundry, I spent time finding out a little more about what people put off, why and 5 easy steps to beating procrastination. Ultimately, it led to helping me get right on task…the next day that is.


Do you procrastinate?

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Why Do People Procrastinate?

People procrastinate for a variety of reasons. Most of the time, people have no clue as to why they are avoiding a task. The three most popular reasons people procrastinate are:

1. They don’t want to do it:

Sometimes we have to do things we simply don’t want to do. Who doesn’t want clean dishes? But doing the job itself is another thing completely. Many times we are charged with doing things that need to be done that we simply prefer not to do.

2. They are afraid:

There are other times that doing a task means facing something we are actually afraid of. Why didn’t I want to write my report? I was in fear of not performing well. Fear of performance or failure is a common reason for putting a job off.

3. It feels overwhelming:

Often a job just feels too big to tackle. Organizing, losing weight and learning something new are all common things people put off because they task feels HUGE.


10 Things People Typically Put-Off

Feel lazy? Like perhaps you should even be punished for your sloth? Don’t worry! You are not alone. Procrastination is a common problem for most people. Read this list of typical tasks people avoid doing:

1. Cleaning

2. Working

3. Difficult conversations

4. Break ups/Divorces

5. Writing

6. Exercising

7. Dieting

8. Moving

9. Paying bills

10. Organizing


5 Easy Steps to End Procrastination

1. Be honest:

Sit. Quiet your mind and think, “Why am I avoiding this?” Are you afraid? Is this something you just plain don’t like doing? Being honest with yourself about the reason you are procrastinating might be the key to unlocking your action.

2. Be gentle with yourself:

Many people react to procrastination by beating themselves up. Being hard on yourself will only cause more inactivity! Forgive yourself for being human and move on as quickly as possible.

3. Make a plan:

Your tasks are not going to do themselves! You are going to have to make a move. How do you go about that, when the problem is you feel distracted or stuck? Make a specific plan of action. Break big projects into small parts. Be detailed and even include an order and time limits for each task. As you move from one action to another, check it off your plan. This creates a sense of moving forward.

4. Pace Yourself:

Breaking your projects down into parts is helpful. But to keep yourself going, pace yourself. You might want, for example, to place small breaks in between you tasks. Or, plan to do a few parts now and a few later. Pacing yourself takes the pressure away from any job.

5. Reward Yourself:

When you have completed a job that was big, you feared or did not want to do, you deserve a pat on the back! So, give yourself one! You earned it! Think of something you like to do before you start working through your task. It can be a great incentive for finishing. But remember, make it worth it!


Need More Help?

Whether you find yourself avoiding small tasks or large projects, know that you are not alone and that there is a way out! If you find you are procrastinating chronically and need more help than a 5 step plan offers, please don’t feel shy in asking for help. Procrastination can be a sign of greater anxieties, but remember, you are NEVER alone.


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