Strategies To Combat Procrastination
Procrastination is one of the main
causes of poor time management. The definition of
procrastination is, “to postpone or delay action
needlessly.” Notice that the definition doesn’t say “to
postpone or delay for a valid or logical reason”. The
defining word is needlessly.
Sometimes there is good reason to delay an action or a
decision, such as if you don’t have enough information, or
if something else has to happen first in the logical order
For example, if you were redecorating
your home, you would put off laying new carpet until after
you’ve painted, to avoid getting paint on the new carpet.
Putting off laying the carpet isn’t procrastinating, it’s
sequencing a series of actions in the most logical order.
Call it deliberate procrastination, if you will. It’s
putting off a task until a more logical time.
True procrastination plays a huge
part in the poor use of time and in disorganization. What
you put off for “later” ultimately becomes a less important
priority as time goes on, but in reality may become even
more urgent. When you’re in the habit of procrastinating
(and it is a bad habit just like any other), you start and
continually add to a “mental pile” of items to do later.
They often end up languishing there and they eventually
become buried in more and more things that you’ve put off
Here are strategies you can use to
begin changing the destructive habit of putting things off.
Some are mental strategies and others are physical.
Combining two or more increases your chances of success.
Vividly imagine the way you'll feel inside after the
task or project is complete.
Focus on your desired result, not your fear or
Imagine yourself completing the task or project
easily, quickly and with no setbacks.
Tune into your procrastination language in your head
and derail it with positive thoughts of "I want to",
"I can," and "I enjoy" instead.
Let go of perfectionism. Many things aren't worth
doing perfectly, so just start and do your best.
Get an accountability buddy to keep you on task
along the way.
Work out the steps to the project on paper in
advance to clarify your thoughts and eliminate all
the emotional whirlwind around why you don't want to
begin the task or project.
Master the art of starting. Over and over again.
Do the hard parts first. Or...
Do the easy parts first. Whichever motivates you
more is the one you should choose.
Keep a progress log so you don't lose sight of how
much you've accomplished.
Break your project into small, manageable chunks and
create interim deadlines for yourself along the way.
Build in rewards for yourself as you finish each
step or as you complete the project.
When you recognize that you’re
entrenched in the habit of procrastinating, being aware of
it is the first step to conquering it. By using the
strategies outlined above, you'll be well on your way to
making powerful and positive changes in your life and being
more effective, productive, and ultimately a happier person.
Monica Ricci has been an organizing and productivity
specialist since 1999. She offers onsite consulting, as well
as motivational seminars and workshops, which teach
effective organizing and simplifying and effectiveness
strategies for home and work. Reach Monica at