How to Beat Procrastination

Members of my career mentoring site know that I occasionally post guest articles – but only if I think they’re helpful to this community.  The other day, Kate Simpson a writer for Assignment Masters, a professional writing services company, send me a good article on procrastination.  Check  it out…

Habits of Procrastination, and How to Break Them

Everybody has, at some point, put off doing something unpleasant or boring until the very last minute, or did not get it done at all.

It is part of human nature to delay doing something you really don’t want to do.  However, when putting off doing what you need to do is more the rule than the exception, and it is affecting your professional or personal life, then that is a case of habitual procrastination.

This habit can keep you from achieving your goals and making a success of your life. Like most bad habits, you need to find a way to break it.  Before you can do that, however, you need to understand the source of your particular habit, so you know how to break it.

There are two major categories of procrastination: Personality and Behavior.

Procrastination Due to Personality

Some people are just more likely to procrastinate than others because of their personality traits. Here are some of the most likely ones.

The Perfectionists
This  type is a hard start, because everything has to be  just right before they can embark on a project, and they have a hard time finishing, because they keep going back to what had already been done, endlessly tweaking and perfecting.

If you belong in this type, the best way to get past this is to have a list of the things you need to do on a daily basis. Then, force yourself to get through them within the day. Make the tasks realistic and attainable, and if you have to, have someone else keep you on track.

The Dreamers
This type prefers the abstract to the concrete. They are full of ideas, but have no idea how to translate them into actual action.

To get things done and turn dream into reality, sit down and take one idea and make instead as a goal.  Create a specific step-by-step plan of how you are going to achieve it.  Set up a schedule to do this, and set your alarm to remind you of what you need to do.

The Disaster Junkies
Some people like to work under pressure. It gives them a rush to race against a deadline for tasks that would otherwise be mundane and hence the procrastination.

For disaster junkies, you can still get that rush by setting deadlines before the actual due date. This will give you lead time, and at the same time, making it more challenging by setting a higher standard of work for yourself.

The Anarchists
These are people that do not like to be told what to do. The more you pressure them to accomplish a task, the more reluctant they are to do it.

If this sounds like you, you have to  acknowledge that your attitude is self-destructive, and make a conscious effort to do what you need to do without waiting for someone to remind you. You may still think it’s not fair, but life is not fair, so deal with it.

The People Pleasers
This personality type finds it almost impossible to say no, even when it is not humanly possible to complete all the assigned tasks in the available time. The result is a feeling of being overwhelmed, and some tasks not being done at all.

The solution for this is relatively simple: say NO! Practice saying it in a polite and reasonable manner, and you should soon stop feeling so stressed. You will also be able to perform your tasks better and faster.

The Overthinkers
This people are anxious about change, and worry about their ability to accomplish a task. They fail in accomplishing goals because they are paralyzed by the thought of failure.

If you fall under this type, you can stop this destructive cycle by breaking a difficult task down into manageable chunks, and working your way through them. Don’t worry about how well you will do it; just do it.

Procrastination Due to Behavior

Many procrastinators fall into the habit because of their accustomed behavior. Identifying yourself with a particular behavior pinpoints exactly what you need to stop doing to stop procrastination.

Habitual napping
Some people get sleepy during the day, and nap frequently, which makes them unproductive. Instead of napping, avoid any excitement close to bedtime and get enough sleep at night. Exercise regularly to get enough energy during the day and become more productive.

Social networking
Many people have become serial networkers, wasting hours in the day updating their social networks. To get things done, install a site blocker on your work computer to keep you from going into your social network sites during work hours. This includes YouTube and similar video sites. No one needs to watch that many funny cat videos.

Side tracking
You can always find something else you need to do instead of what you set out to do. It can be organizing your desk, getting a snack, chatting with co-workers, family, or friends, or working on something that isn’t due yet. Before you know it, the day has gone.  Make a point of scheduling a time for each task you need to do for the day, and sticking to it.

Procrastination is a bad habit to which you can easily become comfortable as a a way of life. You need to nip it in the bud, or at least break it as soon as possible. If you have any of these habits, you have your work cut out for you. Make your changes as soon as possible.  Don’t procrastinate!
Thank to Kate for that thoughtful and insightful article  I will add one more thought.  I believe that procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear.  When you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself a simple question: “What am I afraid of here?”  The answer to that will unblock your mind and help you move forward.

Your career mentor,


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  1. This is a good list of reasons why people procrastinate. Great to learn these reasons so that we can handle and get rid of procrastination. I used to procrastinate quite a lot. However, it all changed after I fully commit myself to my work and give no more excuses. I found that getting a task management tool and a to-do list help a lot. Cheers and thanks for sharing this great piece of infomation. 🙂

  2. I think that procrastination is a disease and every people should prevail, fight it, because, it can make destructive influence on each of us. You doing great job by giving us this information on how we can deal with that!

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