How to stop Procrastinating!!


We all procrastinate to some degree; often we even know we’re doing it, but we just can’t seem to stop procrastinating & start doing! Yet, for some, procrastination can be a debilitating problem that really gets in the way of living.

My favourite definition of procrastination is “putting off until tomorrow what could be done today”. It’s the art of not doing something that you really need to do now, and doing something less important instead. Usually, we procrastinate about something that we’re not keen on doing – let’s face it, if it’s something we love to do, we usually just get on and do it, don’t we?
Most procrastinators want to understand why they procrastinate. Common reasons are:
  • Perfectionism – unless we can do the task perfectly, we’d rather not do it at all
  • Fear – we see the task as really challenging, we don’t think we can do it & are scared of failing
  • Disorganisation – poor time management means we don’t allow enough time for the task, so we just don’t start
  • Dislike – we just don’t want to do the task
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter too much why we’re procrastinating, as the solution is usually the same, and, no matter the issue, the process to move you forward & off your procrastination is usually the same. For a small minority, there may be some deep rooted emotional issues that are holding you back – luckily these are usually easily resolved with the help of emotional specialists such as NLP coaches.
Here’s my 10 step process to help you learn how to stop procrastinating and start doing!
  1. Recognise your typical procrastinating behaviour – what do you do when you’re avoiding the task? Where do you waste your time? Maybe it’s checking your emails or Facebook (again, and again!) Maybe it’s watching TV, doing the ironing, or getting a cup of tea & having a break. Learning to recognise when you ARE procrastinating is a great first step in helping to move on.
  2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating this time – what’s your “root cause”? Is the issue one of fear, perfectionism, disorganisation or dislike? Recognising your issue will help you to understand it, and perhaps also how to resolve it.
  3. Break the task down into smaller, manageable, achievable steps. Often, the task appears so large at first that it’s just daunting & we don’t know how or where to start. Once we’ve broken it down into smaller steps and decided the best order of doing them, they’ll seem more manageable and it’ll be easier to start. Beware of getting stuck in the “procrastination planning” loop…. as planning in itself can be procrastination – another avoidance of actually getting started! Set yourself a planning time limit and keep it simple – do a basic plan and then move onto the next step.
  4. Act as if” you can just do it! Ask yourself, how would the most organised, motivated person you know do this task? What would they do to get started? Then “act as if” you are that person, and decide to do it! Sounds daft, but it really does work!
  5. Just get started! That sounds so easy doesn’t it? But really, what’s stopping you, other than you? What would the benefit be of getting started now? Visualise yourself actually doing the task & recognise how much better it feels now, instead of wasting all of that time & energy in beating yourself up for not doing it. Then just get started!
  6. Start on what feel best for you. Some prefer starting on the hardest step first, so they get the biggest sense of accomplishment when it’s done. Others prefer starting with an easy step, and building up to the harder ones. There’s no right way – just do it in the way that works best for you.
  7. Celebrate starting – and finishing – each step. Recognise your achievement in stopping procrastinating, as well as starting the step.
  8. Accept that set-backs can & do happen – and keep going. Set-backs are just part of learning how to do the task in the best way. They don’t mean that you’re rubbish or that you should give up! Set-backs may require us to take a step backwards or to change the plan – and that’s ok! Take some time out to reflect on what is happening, and then get started again.
  9. Finish the task! Some of us can start a task very easily, but then struggle to finish & procrastinate ourselves to a standstill, usually because starting new tasks is so much more exciting than finishing the current task. This is no different from any other form of procrastination, so follow the steps above & get the task finished!
  10. Get help! If you’ve done all of the above and are still stuck in procrastination, don’t worry – help is available! Ask your local NLP coach for a “magic button” to quickly & easily move you off your procrastination & into doing!

Leave a Comment

Previous post: