What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is defined as the behavior of voluntarily delaying an intended course of action despite the negative consequences of this delay. Someone who is procrastinating postpones the initiation or completion of a commitment until the last minute, until after a predetermined deadline, or indefinitely. Sounds familiar? As you can see, there is a variety of ways we can procrastinate.

Procrastination is extremely wide-spread among college students and adults. [clickToTweet tweet=”Some estimates suggest that a third of #students and a half of all adults #procrastinate.” quote=”Some estimates suggest that a third of students and a half of all adults procrastinate.” theme=”style6″]

In this very funny TED talk, Tim Urban of Wait But Why  goes as far as to say that everyone is a procrastinator – we all procrastinate on something at any given moment of our life. This is an interesting thought!

Watch this video, and I promise you won’t regret it later.

Why People Procrastinate?

Research found that the most important factors that affect academic procrastination include:

  1. Self-regulation: ability to create a motivated, planned approach to learning;
  2. Self-efficacy: beliefs in one’s capabilities to carry out the actions needed to succeed in a task;
  3. Self-esteem: judgments of global self-worth.

Of course, affecting any of these factors requires time and consistent effort.

12 Approaches to Overcome Procrastination

In this blog post, we have compiled the most effective ways of dealing with procrastination. Everyone is different, so you might want to experiment with several approaches and see what works best for you.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Apply two of these 12 ways to overcome #procrastination for a few weeks. #results #productivity #students #howto” quote=”Apply two of these 12 ways to overcome #procrastination for a few weeks. #results #productivity #students #howto” theme=”style6″]


1. Start the Day with the Most Difficult or Most Important Task.

Most people have more energy in the first half of the day and are, therefore, more likely to initiate something new when they are less tired. It feels good to knock off an important item from your to-do list any time of the day. However, by completing it early in the day, you will feel more accomplished and motivated for the rest of the day.

2. Set Deadlines.

Scientific studies found that procrastination diminishes as the deadline approaches. We can trick our brain by setting an earlier deadline, don’t we?

3. Use Post-It Notes and Phone Alarms as Reminders.

Of course, we need to make sure that our brain acknowledges the existence of a deadline.

4. Break Down Big Tasks into Small Steps.

Another research finding is that we are more likely to believe that we can complete a task if it seems doable. Starting something is often the hardest part when it comes to procrastination. If you break down a sizeable task into smaller chunks, and set deadlines for each of them, now you have a plan.

5. Find Ways to Deal with Stress and Overwhelm.

Learn what helps you to release stress. It can be going to the gym, watching a movie, talking to a good friend, going for a walk, or meditating.

These articles may help you get started:

7 Ways to Get Better Sleep

How to Set Up A Home Gym Under $200

How to Workout When You Don’t Have Time

25 Uplifting Songs to Make Your Morning Commute Better

Top 7 Productivity Podcasts to Get The Most Out Of Your Commute

6. Release Expectations of Doing It Perfectly.

If we always try to be perfect, wait for perfect circumstances and expect only perfect results, we might never accomplish anything. As a result, we can miss out on the experience of learning and becoming better at something in the process. Giving yourself a permission to be imperfect can be extremely liberating. Give it a try!

7. Visualize Final Outcome.

For some people, visualizing a completed task can be very energizing. Imagine how you are going to feel when you have achieved your desired outcome. What does this feeling remind you of? Remember this symbolic reminder of your success whenever you need more motivation. You can even draw a picture of it and hang it on the wall.

8. List All Reasons Why Accomplishing a Task is Important to You.

What are the benefits of completing a task for you? Considering these benefits will motivate you to take the necessary steps to move forward. We are more likely to accomplish anything if we know our why’s.

9. Start on a Project Immediately to Avoid Distraction.

Even if you write only one sentence for a report that is due in two weeks, starting it makes it easier to come back to it later.

10. Celebrate Your Successes.

Even if it’s just getting one step closer to your goal, you did it, and you can be proud of your accomplishment.

11. Find an Accountability Partner.

Find a trusted friend and agree to connect at certain time intervals to check on each other’s progress. It can be once a week on Fridays, every other week, or once a month. You are less likely to be distracted from your plan, when you know that you are doing it together. Everything is easier with a friend!

12. Choose a Reward for Completing a Task.

Establishing a reward if you do what you set out to do will motivate you to complete the task. For example, you can watch your favorite TV show only after you have done your project. Or you can call your friend only when you are done with what you’ve scheduled.

Action Steps:

  1. Choose one or two approaches from the list above.
  2. Apply them for 2-3 weeks.
  3. Evaluate your results.
  4. Rinse and repeat until you find your best way or a combination of ways to overcome procrastination.

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