How to Stop Procrastinating

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

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For many people, procrastination can be a big problem. When you procrastinate, you are postponing or delaying tasks that need to be worked on. This can cause stress, anxiety, and even financial loss. Procrastination tends to be a habit. If you normally get your work done on time, but have had occasional circumstances where you missed a deadline, you probably have nothing to worry about. However, if you find yourself intentionally delaying your tasks, you may be a procrastinator. Here are some tips on how to stop procrastinating, and how to start getting things done.


You may be suffering from a lack of focus. When you have a lot of ideas swarming around in your head, it can be hard to concentrate on one of them long enough to get it started and completed. Take some time and focus on your tasks; visualize where you want to go. If you find yourself working on something that isn’t related to your current goal, stop working on it and move on to a task that will.


Some people tend to procrastinate over things they do not enjoy doing. Perhaps you hate keeping track of receipts and balancing your books. Instead of putting this task off to the end of the day, schedule it for the first activity of the day. Give yourself a reward when you complete the task. You also have the option of outsourcing the tasks that you do not want to do yourself.


If you tend to put open-ended tasks on your to-do list that never get accomplished, you may want to start setting goals for yourself. If you simply tell yourself, “I need to write and distribute five articles,” you may never get around to doing it. However, if you tell yourself, “I need to write and distribute five articles by the 25th” you will have a due date, which can help motivate you.


If you find yourself delaying the start of a complex project, it may just be too big for you to grasp all at once. Break the project down into smaller pieces. Instead of focusing on a huge project, you are only focusing on specific, manageable tasks.


Perfectionists tend to delay things because they want everything to be perfect. Realize that there is no such thing as perfect; it is okay to have high standards and want to complete things to the best of your ability. However, if you find yourself putting undue stress on yourself, ease up and let “good” be good enough.


Some people actually have a fear of success, or failure, and that is why they delay starting and completing tasks. If you think you may suffer from this, you may want to consult a professional who can work with you and help you overcome your fears. In the meantime, visualize how you will feel when you complete the task.


Old habits can be hard to change, but with a little time and effort, you can learn new habits that will help you start and finish your projects on time.


You may find these articles helpful:

5 Ways to Get Motivated

7 Common Obstacles to Your Goals and How to Navigate Them

7 Ways to be More Productive at Home and Work

10 Tips to Stop Procrastination in its Tracks

13 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

Achieve Greater Success with a Daily Motivating Regimen

Achieve Your Goals Regardless of the Obstacles

Make Procrastination Harder