How to stop procrastinating: Top 5 tips and tricks
7 min read

How to stop procrastinating: Top 5 tips and tricks

7 min read
Uploaded on
Feb 1, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 10, 2023
Uploaded on
Feb 1, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 10, 2023
How to stop procrastinating: Top 5 tips and tricks
Stop procrastinating, start achieving!

Do you ever feel like you have a lot to do, but you find yourself doing anything but the task at hand? Most of us can relate to this feeling of procrastination. But what exactly is procrastination and is it just laziness? It's important to understand the concept, different types and causes, in order to stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination. In this article, we'll show you the best ways to avoid procrastination and suggest some courses that can help increase your productivity. So, don't wait any longer and take control of your tasks today! 

What is Procrastination?

Understand what procrastination is all about. The word "procrastination" comes from the Latin word "procrastinationem," meaning "to put off from day to day" or "deferred till the morning." In other words, it's about delaying things. We often see procrastination as putting things off until the last minute or even after the deadline. To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it's important to first understand what it means. 

Scientifically, procrastination is when people delay important tasks even though they know they should do them right away. This is a failure in self-regulation. Many studies have tried to figure out why this happens, and we'll talk about some of these reasons later. To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it's important to understand what causes it. Procrastination doesn't just mean avoiding work or school tasks. It can also show up in everyday chores, appointments, or difficult conversations. To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it's important to be aware of all the different forms it can take.

Why do we procrastinate?

According to some studies, about 15% to 20% of adults struggle with chronic procrastination. This number is even higher for students, with 80% to 90% of them experiencing it in some form. To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it's important to understand the reasons behind it.

Studies have looked at many things that could cause procrastination, such as personality, decision-making, time perspectives, emotions, and biology. The difference in how often students and adults procrastinate suggests that certain situations also play a role. To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it's important to know the factors that contribute to it.

People have many different opinions about why people procrastinate. But to avoid procrastination, it's best to look at the studies and research that provide evidence-based reasons. None of these reasons suggest that procrastination is due to being lazy or a lack of self-control.

Are you procrastinating because of stress? Read our Tips For Stress Management For Students and break that procrastination cycle!

Difficulties with organisation

Many adults with ADHD struggle with procrastination. ADHD may cause problems like disorganization, forgetfulness, being easily distracted, and difficulty with prioritizing and managing time. To avoid procrastination, it's important to understand how ADHD affects it.

Personality traits 

Studies show that certain personality traits are connected to procrastination. A big study in 2007 looked at lots of research about this and found that people who procrastinate usually don't like the task, put it off, don't believe in themselves, and make decisions quickly without thinking. These are all factors that can lead to procrastination. So, to stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it helps to work on these personality traits.

Similarly, a lack of conscientiousness, self-control, distractibility, organisation, and achievement motivation were also predictors of procrastination. Let’s look at some of these terms in more detail: 

Low self-efficacy. 

If you struggle with procrastination, you might have low confidence in your ability to complete tasks and reach your goals. This is known as low self-efficacy. To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, work on boosting your belief in yourself and your abilities.

Low conscientiousness. 

Avoid procrastination by being organised, focused and hardworking. People who are less organised and focused are more likely to procrastinate. Stop procrastination by thinking before you act. Impulsive people are more likely to procrastinate because they act without considering the consequences. 

Biological reasons 

Studies have found a connection between the way your brain is structured and procrastination. People who often procrastinate have brain structures that make them less focused on the future. Because of this, they are less likely to do tasks that they don't like now, even if they bring long-term benefits. To stop procrastinating, it helps to be more aware of the future and the benefits of completing tasks.

Mental health 

To stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination, it's important to know that procrastination can be linked to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. People with depression tend to procrastinate on all types of tasks, even simple ones, due to overthinking and loss of confidence. Those with anxiety disorders may delay tasks they find stressful, while perfectionists may avoid tasks they're not confident about.

Read our All About Student Mental Health And How To Take Care Of It blog to stay on top of every issue and break that procrastination cycle!

How to stop Procrastination

Step 1: Recognize That You're Procrastinating

If you need to rearrange your work, it's okay to delay a task for a little while. But if you keep pushing it off or switch to other tasks to avoid doing it, then you're probably procrastinating. To stop procrastination, make sure you don't keep postponing important tasks without a good reason.
You may also be procrastinating if you:

  1. Fill your day with low-priority tasks.
  2. Leave an item on your To-Do list for a long time, even though it's important.
  3. Read emails several times over without making a decision on what to do with them.
  4. Start a high-priority task and then go off to make a coffee.
  5. Fill your time with unimportant tasks that other people ask you to do, instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.
  6. Wait to be in "right mood," or wait for the "right time" to tackle a task.

Step 2: Work Out WHY You're Procrastinating

You need to understand the reasons why you are procrastinating before you can begin to tackle it.

  • Do you avoid a specific task because it's not interesting or uncomfortable for you? Focus on doing unpleasant or uninteresting chores as soon as possible to avoid procrastinating. You can then devote more time to activities you find fun at work.
  • To stop procrastinating, make sure you are organised. People who are organised don't struggle with procrastination as much because they make To-Do lists that show what they need to do first and they plan their time well. By using these tools, you can make sure you do the most important tasks first and meet deadlines.
  • Stop procrastinating by facing your fears. Even if you have a good plan, a big task can still feel scary. Maybe you're worried you won't do a good job or you're afraid of failing. Instead of avoiding the challenge, tackle it head-on and find comfort in doing the tasks you know you can handle.
  • Some people avoid success because they're scared they'll have too much to do if they succeed. To stop procrastinating, they need to realise success is a good thing and they can handle the extra work.
  • Stop procrastinating by letting go of perfectionism. People who are perfectionists tend to delay doing things because they are afraid of not doing them perfectly. Instead, try to focus on making progress and not being perfect.
  • Avoid procrastination by making decisions quickly. Another reason people procrastinate is because they have trouble making decisions. If you're not sure what to do, just choose something and do it. Don't wait because you're afraid of making a mistake.

Step 3:  Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies

A deeply rooted pattern of behaviour, procrastination is a habit. This indicates that it's unlikely to be broken in a single day. To increase your chances of success, try as many of the tactics listed below as you can. Habits only stop being habits when you stop engaging in them.

  • Forgive yourself if you've ever put off something. According to studies, self-forgiveness can boost your self-esteem and lessen your urge to put things off in the future.
  • Stick with the assignment. Focus on doing rather than avoiding. You should list the things you need to do along with a deadline. This will enable you to approach your task with determination.
  • Make an incentive for yourself. Treat yourself to something special, like a piece of cake or a cup of coffee from your preferred coffee shop, after you finish a challenging assignment on schedule. And be sure to acknowledge how satisfying it is to complete tasks!
  • Request a follow-up from someone. peer pressure is effective! Self-help groups are based on this idea. Various apps can assist you with self-monitoring if you don't have somebody to turn to.
  • Go with the flow. Take care of chores as they come up rather than letting them accumulate over time.
  • Reply to yourself inside. For instance, the words "need to" and "have to" indicate that you are powerless over what you do. This could even cause you to self-sabotage since it makes you feel powerless. However, using the phrase "I choose to" conveys that you are in charge of a task and might help you feel more in charge of your burden.
  • Cut back on interruptions. While working, turn off your email and social media, and stay away from any TVs in the area.
  • Get those chores done early that you find least enjoyable. You will then have the remainder of the day to focus on the tasks that you find more fun.

Looking for more ways to improve yourself? Read our Top 10 Self-Help Books to Develop Winning Habits and start making progress today!

Tips and strategies on how to avoid procrastination

If you sometimes struggle with procrastination, the tips below can help you make progress and stay on task. Remember, sometimes, being aware of the problem can help you take steps to overcome it. 

1. Set small goals 

Stop procrastinating by breaking down big tasks into smaller parts. Sometimes, a big task can seem too hard to finish. But, if you break it down into smaller parts, it will be easier to get started and finish. Make a list of small goals that you can achieve one at a time. This way, you can make progress little by little. Understanding project management can also help you set these small goals.

2. Organise your tasks 

Avoid procrastination by setting deadlines for your goals. This helps the previous idea. If you have a timeline with specific dates for when you want to finish each small goal, you will stay motivated to reach your big goals. Make daily, weekly, and monthly goals that all work together. This gives you a sense of urgency to get things done, whether it's school work or a work project.

3. Focus your attention 

Stop procrastination by starting with easy tasks. Another way to overcome procrastination is to focus on tasks that are simple to finish. By organising your tasks and setting small goals, you will know which ones are easy. By doing these easy tasks first, you will feel more confident and get some momentum. This will help you focus and finish one task at a time.

4. Remove distractions

Avoid procrastination by creating a focused work environment. Your study or work area might be causing you to procrastinate. Distractions like having your phone nearby or having the TV on in the background can slow down your progress and make you feel stressed. To improve your productivity, our course about stress and productivity in the workplace shows how making your work environment better can help you perform better at work.

5. Forgive yourself 

Avoid procrastination by being kind to yourself. It's easy to be hard on yourself for procrastinating, but calling yourself lazy or unproductive only makes you feel more frustrated and stressed. This does not help you be more productive.

It's time to put procrastination to bed! By recognizing your triggers, using tools like prioritised To-Do lists and deadlines, and focusing on smaller, achievable tasks, you can overcome procrastination and achieve your goals. Remember, success comes from taking action, not from simply wishing for it. So, take control of your life, avoid distractions and start taking action today. With dedication and effort, you can overcome procrastination and reach the level of success you desire! Don't wait any longer, it's time to stop procrastinating and start achieving!