How Conquering Procrastination Can Help You Live a Better Life

We’ve all learned: procrastination is a productivity killer. But finding motivation for complex or intimidating items on your to-do list can be trickier than getting cats to march in a parade. Use these tips to ditch procrastinating and start shining in your career.


Procrastination inflicts stress

A behemoth presentation is due in two weeks. You expect it will be around 30 slides, each with graphs and other media to generate. If you design three slides per workday, you’ll have plenty of time to keep up with other tasks on your plate. Instead, you save the project until three days before it’s due. Now you have 10 slides to build per day on top of your daily tasks. You will spend those three days in chaos. Was it worth it?


Results deteriorate when we put things off

The more you delay your project, the lower you place the bar for yourself. You can’t achieve your highest quality if you wait until the last minute.


When we procrastinate, we think we’re in control—the opposite is true

You’re in charge of how you spend your time. By breaking the project into bite-sized goals, you control the stress you feel and the results you present. By waiting, you are only limiting your options.


You underestimate your project’s scope and complexity when you put it off

What problems might you run into when creating your presentation? With so many variables outside of your control, it is a gamble to assume everything will only take the limited number of hours you allocate.


Putting something off doesn’t stop the pain

Frequent procrastinators may think they are shortening the irritation or demand of their project. However, most of us hold on to bits of guilt, shame, or anxiety about our unfinished task—even when we are “enjoying” ourselves. For example, if you work incrementally over two weeks, the accomplishments keep negativity at bay.


My name is ____, and I procrastinate. I admit it. Now, how do I stop?


1. Create mini-goals

If running in a marathon is your long-term goal, breaking it into mini-goals is the best way to start. Begin with 20 minutes of a run/walk 3 days a week and build your endurance following an incremental plan.


2. Offer incentives

You’re not a dog. You don’t need a treat for doing what is required of you. However, suppose you reward yourself after a long stretch of butt-kicking by upgrading your playlist or new running shoes. If you don’t hit the mark, you don’t get the reward.


3. Change your mindset

Re-train your brain that procrastination DOESN’T feel good. Break the habit by acknowledging the guilt and the feelings of stress. Then you’re more likely to see procrastination as the enemy.


Want to find out more? is a fantastic resource, or read how to build your gratitude, an essential leadership skill.

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