Overcoming Procrastination

I decided to live my life rather than postpone it Irvin Yalom

There are 3 types of Procrastinator:


Who cannot make decision

  • Not deciding absolves them of responsibility for the outcome of events
  • I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow (they don’t)


Who are avoiding fear of failure (or fear of success)

  • They are concerned with what others think of them and would rather have others think that they lack effort than ability
  • I work best under pressure (they don’t)


Who aren’t happy with anything unless it’s 100% error-free

  • They would prefer to do nothing rather than face the prospect of having to measure up to their own exacting standards
  • This isn’t important (it is!)

Why do we procrastinate?

  1. I don’t feel like it – If we act we then will feel motivated, rather than vice versa
  2. Assuming someone who does well will feel confident and easily achieve their goals
  3. Fear of failure
  4. Perfectionism
  5. Lack of rewards – you discount any achievements
  6. Should statements – and then feel rebellious to it
  7. Passive aggressive – so you push back
  8. Unassertive -you agreed to do something you don’t feel do able to say no to
  9. Coercion sensitivity – you feel irritated to be told what to do
  10. Lack of desire for the outcome
  11. Complacent – we could do it any time
  12. Avoid discomfort – I’m not going to enjoy this

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Adapted from David Burns, Feel Good Handbook & The Mindgym)

Overcoming Procrastination

  Visualise what you want to do Imagine success
  Dissect and analyse the task Understand what you really don’t like and what makes you reluctant to attempt it in the first place. Then break those problems or irrational, illogical fears
  Focus on the future Focus on how great it will be when it’s complete
  Contract out your time to yourself  Give yourself a specific time, and focus – And then ring fence it.
  Work in chunks You never get ‘enough time’ in one go, so learn how to work in chunks. Give yourself an hour rather than wait until 3 hours are available.
  Get it done – not perfect Pareto principle 80% of the work is done in 20% of the time. Enough.