How to Stop Procrastinating...NOW!

Want to stop procrastinating on procrastinating?

"Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible.” -George Lorimer


Searching for tips to reduce procrastination may be another way of procrastinating (...yep...I’m onto you…) but at least if you are going to procrastinate, make it a productive use of time!  


So...let’s get to it...Now!


Procrastination: The Basics


Let’s be clear: there are times when completing something at the last minute is actually good planning! For example, if you know that you will waste hours fussing over the recipes for a dinner party, it may be a good strategy to create the menu the day before.


However, I’m guessing that you found this blog because you look at your friends/roommates/classmates/colleagues/etc. and envy that they are able to get things done when they want to, or at least when they should or need to?


In contrast, you seem to find yourself coming up with *anything* to delay starting or completing (even very important) tasks? (“I can’t finish this job application...I definitely have to go buy a few more rolls of toilet paper even though I already have a huge pack from Costco…”).


If so, you are not alone. Over 50% of college undergraduates report procrastinating at least 50% of the time!!


But just because one is no longer in school does not mean that he/she/they is immune to procrastination! There are many other ways that people engage in procrastination, including planning events, preparing for holidays, making appointments, having difficult conversations, or making difficult decisions.


Procrastination: The consequences

Many books and articles aim to help reduce procrastination. Clearly, procrastination is not particularly desirable.  


It is easy to see the negative external consequences of procrastination, lower quality work, late fees, missing enjoyable events, poor performance ratings.


The emotional/physical consequences can be equally costly and include embarrassment by low quality work, self-criticism, guilt, shame, disappointment, frustration, and physical illness/exhaustion.


With all of these downsides to procrastination, why do we continue to do it? Why don’t we learn??? We procrastinate for many reasons,  including difficulties with time management, and uncomfortable internal experiences, including thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.


1) Time Management difficulties:


2) Unpleasant Thoughts:


3) Negative Emotions:


4) Physical sensations that arise when thinking about the unpleasant task:


What can we do?

The strategies for reducing procrastination will depend on the cause of the difficulties:


1.Time Management Strategies help individuals plan their work schedules: anticipating time needed for work and potential last-minute problems and then scheduling and spending adequate time to complete tasks


These strategies include:


2.  Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies help individuals cope with the unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that pose barriers to completing tasks as desired or planned

These strategies include:


Be patient with yourself--breaking habits and learning new strategies takes time...but don’t put off starting!  

Dr. Debra Glick Licensed Clinical Psychologist with Brighter Life Therapy, PLLC

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