How to deal with procrastination?

The term procrastination comes from the Latin crastinus (meaning «tomorrow») and pro (meaning the particle «on»). The second version of the appearance of this word suggests that it comes from the English procrastination, which means “postponing” or “delay”.

Ways to overcome

Before we fight procrastination, let’s figure out what kind of ailment it is and whether it can be dealt with. Remember your student years, when many of us, instead of starting to prepare a diploma or term paper in advance, ran to a disco or a date, and left everything for later. This is perhaps the most striking and understandable example of procrastination. Although in more adult life it is not so easy to discern the onset of the disease. And there are several types of this insidious disease.

  • academic — the one when we put off studying and doing homework, writing a term paper and a diploma for later.
  • Neurotic — when, due to fear and unwillingness to take responsibility, we avoid making any decisions in life. Perhaps the guy does not want to go to the registry office, not because he does not love the girl, but for the reason that he has procrastination.
  • behavioral — it seems to us that we will definitely succeed in doing all the housework and chores, as well as other tasks that require our daily efforts, next time, better than today.
  • working — we are pulling to the last with some difficult, painstaking or simply unpleasant business for us.
  • Integrated — having collected all the above types or some of them together.

Sometimes we just don’t notice how we put off important things, because we constantly find replacements for them. We come up with a lot of reasons and cases so as not to sit down for something important or difficult to do.. And in return we take both other work and other little things in life. We pour coffee three times an hour, every ten minutes we run to the next office, sharpen all the pencils in the office, wipe the dust even where there is none, and in the evening, going to bed, we understand that we didn’t do what was planned, but wanted and almost tried.

And everything would be fine, because there will still be tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and so on. But even then we again find a lot of excuses not to start the annual report, for example. But then the problems begin. Firstly, sooner or later the work will still have to be done, and time will be running out, and we will be doing it already in an emergency mode, which, as a rule, entails mistakes, and what is even worse — stress and even depression. We begin to reproach ourselves for not devoting time to this earlier, colleagues and management are also not happy with our actions.

Some begin to consider us lazy, but we were just constantly busy with something. And here honestly answer yourself the question — what? If you realize that you were simply playing for time, and the true reason lay in the unwillingness to do something, then this must be treated.

And to begin with, it is worth understanding the causes of your disease. There may be several of them, getting rid of some is simple, while others are much more difficult:

  • you are an idle and irresponsible person in life;
  • you feel that by setting time limits for you, management limits the freedom of your personality;
  • you are afraid that you will not be able to complete the task assigned to you;
  • you are “lost” in time and do not understand that minutes, hours and days pass, it seems to you that they are endless;
  • you do not need a salary, there is no financial motivation;
  • you believe that tomorrow you will be better than yesterday;
  • you have already failed in this field, and it seems to you that it will always be so.

If any of the above about you and what is happening does not suit you, it’s time to start fighting. You have to admit to yourself that you are sick. Go to the mirror and honestly and frankly tell yourself that not only are you charming and attractive, but you also suffer from procrastination. And then proceed to a step-by-step solution to the problem.

  • Write down your priorities. In the morning, make a to-do list of the things you have planned. Highlight the most important and difficult, and start with this, leave the rest for «dessert». At dinner, you eat the main course first, and only then the dessert. Here are the small tasks, let them remain for dessert.
  • Plan. Set clear boundaries for yourself — what and when you have to do. Write the plan on paper and hang it in front of you. Follow it like instructions.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work right away. It is much easier to redo, finish, fix than start from scratch. Repair is not construction.
  • Follow the routine. Don’t try to do everything at once. Rest is essential.

Take breaks, do not work at night, rest on weekends, and then you should have enough strength to perform your duties during working hours. Your vacuum cleaner will eventually overheat and burn out if you don’t turn it off.

Treatment Methods

To stop procrastinating, it is also important to understand the reasons. To defeat the enemy, you need to know him by sight. The reasons may be as follows.

  • The work does not suit you, it does not bring moral or material satisfaction. Start looking for a new one, otherwise you will remain in prostration, that is, in procrastination.
  • Remove phrases like “I must” or “I must” in relation to work, replace them with “I can”, “I want”. Agree, this sounds more pleasant, and it will help us, freedom-loving ones, to overcome the psychological barrier.
  • Try to understand why you do not want to take on this particular case, try to start it from the other end. Don’t wait to get scolded for work not done. Instead of a stick, buy yourself a carrot as an advance payment for the upcoming work. Please yourself with something. With a good mood and things will go more fun. After you finish the job, walk boldly, buy yourself at least a chocolate bar as a reward.
  • Find your helpers. Together we are a force that helps to get out of even the most difficult situations!

Useful exercises

As such, there are no special exercises to combat procrastination. In addition to, of course, daily walks in the fresh air and sports, morning exercises also count. Both will help deliver oxygen to our brain, which will make the head work faster and better. There are a number of other actions that will help to cope with the problem.

  • Incorporate procrastination into your work schedule. That is, allow yourself time to do nothing. Just don’t overdo it. You can remember about the children, call them and find out how they are doing.
  • Tidy up your desktop. Remove anything that might distract you. You have to work at work. But don’t forget about breaks.
  • Set a fixed time for lunch. Then you won’t be tempted to start it 15 minutes early and finish half an hour late.


  • To overcome your reluctance to do anything, remember what dividends you will receive after doing the work. (a good fee, respect from colleagues, a bonus, “thank you”, in the end, a kind word, as you know, is nice for a cat).
  • You can’t avoid delays on your own, find among your colleagues a person who can give you a motivational “kick”at the moment when you once again daydream, looking at the landscape outside the window.
  • Once and forever forget the word «later»it is better to do some of the work in advance.
  • To avoid delays, «close» for the duration of the work from the outside world. Forget about social networks, sites with promotions and sales. Tell colleagues and household members that you are gone for them for the next two or three hours. On the occasion of your return, promise a holiday to them and to yourself. The phone, ideally, should also be turned off, well, unless you are waiting for a very important call, of course.
  • Write a memo to yourself with the algorithm for completing the task. Remember, in the beginning there was a word.
  • Turn routine work into an exciting process. Start writing each next sheet of the report, for example, with a new pen, with a different ink color, for example. This is also possible when creating computer documents.
  • Make it a rule not only to make a plan for the day, but also to summarize its results. What worked and what didn’t, and why. Perhaps tomorrow you will drink not 10 cups of coffee, but one.
  • Do not set yourself impossible tasks. Be smart about scheduling. Clearly think about what you will have time to do in order to praise yourself in the evening, and not to scold.
  • Remember that you can’t even pull a fish out of the pond without difficulty. Yes, your task is difficult, but it is worth it. Over time, things will go more successfully, you need to be patient and move towards your goal gradually, albeit in small steps.
  • Our best friends are our own feelings and reflexes. As soon as you feel that an attack of procrastination begins, immediately stop it. Take a cold shower, it will cheer you up. Go for a run, a burst of energy is guaranteed. You can just limit yourself to light charging. The main thing is to do something.
  • In the schedule of work, do not consider weeks or months, but days. “There are three more weeks until the end of October” doesn’t sound as specific as “a deadline that expires in 21 days,” but it’s not as scary either. The same applies to a specific day.

For example, if you plan to spend 2 hours on everything, the schedule should show 120 minutes. If it doesn’t get any easier, convert to seconds.

Time is running inexorably. And besides work (or household chores), there is still so much to do. In the routine of everyday worries, do not forget to please yourself. The fact that you will have time and energy for this will also spur you to the precise fulfillment of your duties, which, of course, cannot always bring only positive emotions. You must deliver them to yourself by coming out of the situation as a winner and being able to overcome all obstacles, including procrastination.

By the way, the World Health Organization calculated that 96% of the world’s population has experienced an attack of this disease at least once, in 52% this diagnosis is chronic. So let’s enter the better half of humanity. And even better, among those few who are not threatened by procrastination in principle.

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