How to Break the Cycle of Chronic Procrastination

Procrastination Has Been Called The Thief of Time(Image Source: Shutterstock)

What Is Procrastination?

Procrastination is avoiding doing what you know you should be doing and putting it off to later. Often, this task- avoidance is a result of stress, pressure, or anxiety, with the person falsely believing that not confronting a task or decision will make their life easier. This short-term thinking is counterproductive. While they may feel freer in the moment, the mounting difficulties of task avoidance will inevitably catch up with them to complicate matters down the road.

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator | Tim Urban | TED

How to Manage Chronic Procrastination

A common misconception is that procrastination results from laziness. Research, however, indicates that it is more likely to be linked to a person’s emotional mindset. So, rather than coming from a place of not being bothered, the task-avoidance is more often motivated by fear of the emotional consequences of performing the task. Procrastination may also result from an abundance vs scarcity mindset.

How Do You Manage Chronic Procrastination? (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Negative Self-Talk

We all engage in negative self-talk. We constantly question ourselves, think we aren’t good enough, and tear ourselves down in all sorts of ways. Motivational speaker Zig Zigler referred to this as “stinkin’ thinkin.” He also pointed out that we all have the power to control it. This is part of learning how to love yourself.

How to Affirm Yourself and Stop the Negative Self Talk | Dr. Tracey Marks

Don’t Multitask

If we try to tackle too much at once, it can all feel like too much, to the point that we end up doing nothing. So, slow it down and focus on one task at a time. Become laser-focused on the task at hand and break down big jobs into more manageable, bite-sized chunks. Then give yourself a mini reward when you reach a milestone of achievement.

Don’t Multitask (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Get Rid of Obstacles

Chronic procrastinators often have too many distractions at their disposal that keep them from attending to the task at hand. The biggest distractor is the phone. When you have a task that you don’t want to do, it is very easy to text a friend or start scrolling through YouTube. You can avoid that temptation by turning your phone off and keeping it off. Then identify any other obstacles that are preventing you from getting on with a task and remove them.

Consider the Consequences

You know from bitter experience that the longer you put something off, the harder it becomes. Not only is it a far greater physical challenge, due to the reduced time frame, but the dread of not getting it done can cause emotional stress that can make you physically ill. All of this inner turmoil is likely to make you less able to produce a good result when you finally do get around to the task. Just think back to the school projects you put off to the last moment!

What Happens When You Procrastinate Too Much | Science Insider

3 Action Steps to Break the Cycle of Chronic Procrastination

Procrastination is human nature, but it can easily become not only a bad habit but also affect our mental and physical health. Here are a few action steps you can take to break the cycle of chronic procrastination:

  1. Make a things-to-do list for the coming day each evening before retiring. For every item, allocate a time period to get it done. Be generous in your time allocation to account for any disruptions. Then use the list as your guide for the day, starting right away in the morning. Work through it and cross off each item as it is completed.
  2. Delegate; you don’t have to do it all yourself. Recruit the assistance of other people when appropriate.
  3. Chunk up large tasks; rather than putting off a task because it is too large, slice it up into manageable chunks, providing yourself a mini reward when you complete each portion of the larger task. Remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
1AND1

1AND1

293 Followers

We’re a BIPOC-owned mental health and wellness company. We create expert-driven content specifically designed to help you become 1% better each day.