Action: The Cure for Procrastination

Aleisha Douthitt

Why do we procrastinate?

There are several different types of procrastinators. One type is the thrill seeker, who enjoys the rush of energy from finishing something at the last minute. Another is the indecisive procrastinator, who is unable to move forward because they have made themselves exempt from any possible outcome from their lack of decision-making. Lastly, the biggest reason people procrastinate is actually out of fear of failure, or even success. This type of procrastinator is very concerned with what others think of them, and would rather others think they lack the effort and not the ability to complete tasks.

Why you should stop procrastinating. Now.

Procrastinating can cause health problems like stress, unhappiness, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, and anxiety. Not only does procrastinating affect your health, but it can also affect your relationships with coworkers, classmates, friends, significant others, and family. Procrastinating can cause you to lose the ambition to succeed and the motivation to achieve your dreams. Have enough reasons to stop? 

The cure for procrastination is action.

You can choose to procrastinate, or you can choose to take action. Below are some tips on how to break the habit, accomplish your goals, and just get it done!


8 Tips to Take Action

  1. Make a to-to list. Write down all the things you’ve been avoiding, whether it’s taking out the trash, starting on a paper, or responding to an email. Don’t write down the things that you are planning on doing anyways, just the things you keep putting off.

 Tip: Use a free to-do list app like Wunderlist, which can be synced between your phone and computer. The app lets you create lists, tasks, subtasks, and allows you to set reminders and due dates. Other great apps are Todoist, Any.Do, and Carrot.

  1. Break up the big tasks into small tasks. Break up the large tasks into small, manageable subtasks that you can focus on one at a time. Then, assign each subtask a deadline so that you can move onto the next step.
  1. Eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone, log off of Facebook, move to a quiet area, and clear your desk so that you can focus on the things you need to accomplish.
  1. Time yourself. Starting may be the hardest part, but you can make starting painless by using a timer. Set your timer for two minutes, and work diligently until the timer is up. By the end of the two minutes, you’ll probably have the motivation to keep going! Another option is to set your timer for 50 minutes, do as much as you can in that time period, and then reward yourself with a 10 minute break.
  1. Don’t be a perfectionist. When you have a long to-do list, focus on quantity over quality. Say you’ve waited until the last minute to work on two projects, which are due the next day. Don’t waste 20 minutes trying to make your cover page look perfect. Focus on productivity, getting as much done as you can in a short period of time. Then, when you’ve completed as much as you can and you have some spare time, go back and fix the things that really need to be improved.
  1. Ask for help. Find a friend, roommate, or family member to help keep you accountable. Check in with them daily to catch up on each other’s progress. You can also make your goals public for a wider net of accountability. If everyone knows your intentions, you’ll have the positive reinforcement necessary to succeed.
  1. Use positive/negative reinforcement. Reward yourself with a trip to the movies, a chocolate bar, or a new pair of shoes upon completing a task. If you haven’t yet completed a task, take away something good, like your phone, TV, or video games, until you’ve finished your task.
  1. For extreme procrastination.. put some pressure on yourself by putting your money on the line. Give someone you trust (friend, significant other, family member, etc.) a certain amount of money, $20 for example, and tell them to use it as they wish if you don’t meet your deadline. The extra pressure to get your money back is sure to speed your productivity!


Do you have any tips on how to stop procrastinating? Have any of these tips worked for you? Comment below with your experience!




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