Procrastination and Solutions
Updated: Jan 3
By Behcet Bicakci, Life Coach (DipLC)
In this blog, I will be discussing procrastination and offer some solutions regarding how to deal with procrastination and how to become more active and "stop putting things off".
"While we waste our time hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away." --Seneca
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination means delaying something or postponing something which needs to be done. Procrastination is not a symptom or illness but a bad habit of 'I will do later,' or 'I still have time' or 'trying to do lots of things at the same time'. A procrastinator desires to do things that need to be done, but he/she cannot motivate or force themselves to start a task or complete a job they have already started. Procrastination can significantly impact the procrastinator's life, causing him / her stress, anxiety, pressure, ineffectiveness, and failure.
The procrastinator usually leaves things until the last minute until they have become under enormous pressure to finish their tasks.
Some people might claim to work under pressure can be more productive for them. However, research shows that putting things off until the last minute can create an environment for uncertainty, stress, guilt and grounds for ineffectiveness. Studies also show that people more regret things they haven't done than the things they have done.
Any of us can succumb to procrastination and feel its impact on our lives.
My clients whose ages range from young to old have complained about procrastination and would like to learn how they can overcome and avoid it happens in the future. It affects their daily lives, relationships, family, social and business life, education, and wellbeing.
How do people procrastinate?
Most common forms of procrastination are:
Spending too much time with social media and delaying doing main tasks for the day,
Doing less important work while more important work needs to be done,
Postponing meeting with family members, relatives or friends and doing nothing instead (lack of social interaction),
Paying bills or rent last minute while they have money in their account and able to pay their bills in advance,
Studying the night before exam day,
Going to the airport an hour before flight rather than arriving in advance (at least 2 hours before flight),
Leaving essential tasks for later at work,
Delaying open letters arrived in the post (for days, weeks or months),
Delaying replying important emails even there is no valid reason,
Postponing applications for education, job, fund etc.,
Delaying booking holiday till last minute,
Buying or ordering presents for birthdays, anniversaries etc. at very last minute,
Dropping or collecting kids from school at the very last minute,
Having too many things in the "to-do list" but do not know where to start,
Trying to do a few things together but not able to finish them. eg. starting read a book but before finishing, starting another one,
Not be able to leave the bed and starting day (e.g. going out for exercise, work, prepare breakfast etc.) but instead stay in bed and being busy with the phone, game or social media,
Delaying to start a healthy diet despite being unhappy with their body.
Postponing appointments/meetings e.g. doctor, hospital, accountant, lawyer, psychologist, nutritionist etc. even though they are important.
The list can go on.
The important point is that we understand the impact of procrastination on our lives. The consequences of procrastination are usually composed of regret, disappointment, stress and failure. Moreover, procrastination can also affect our relationships with others. Especially when procrastinators let people down, they might not give procrastinators a second or third chance which might limit their relationships or limit responsibilities they have been given, rendering them a less reliable person. Procrastination can cause an end to relationships, friendships, loss of their job, not be able to have the opportunity to improve their relationship with education providers, health providers and other institutes and associations.
How to Stop Procrastination?
"don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today".
Self-Discipline: The main reason for procrastination is lack of self-discipline which most people are not aware of. How can you start to discipline yourself?
It is essential to start with small tasks that are easy to finish. Finishing easy tasks can help you to get motivated for the next and more complicated tasks. For example, after getting up in the morning, one of the simplest tasks is tidying up your bed straight away and doing it every morning. By doing so, you will be finishing your first task in the morning, and your brain will be ready for the next one. This method sounds very simple but putting in practice can take some times.
Also, when you wake up in the morning, avoid logging into social media platforms, and if it is possible, do not use your phone when you are in bed. Research shows that when a person is engaged with social media while they are in bed in the morning, they can lose 1,5 hours of the day.
Another solution for improving self-discipline is learning to choose small and short tasks rather than long and complicated ones. For example, if you are going to read a book try to buy a thin (probably 50-100 pages) and easy read book (depending on your interest but stories are easy to read and finish). This method will help you to complete a task and commence the next one. There are many ways to educate and train yourself about self-discipline. Successful people learn to discipline themselves and practice in daily, social, family and professional life.
If you are fed up with pressure, stress and keep failing in life, it is time to start working on your self-discipline. To learn how to self-discipline yourself depends on how much effort you put into it. You will need to educate yourself about self-discipline by reading books, magazines, watching videos, listening audiobooks and podcasts, attending seminars, and working with life coaches who can help you.
Gaining New Habits: Giving up on bad habits is very important; however, replacing them with a good one is equally important. For instance, if you spend too much of your time on social media, you need to reduce this time and replace it with a positive habit. You can replace the time spent on social media with a new skill such as painting, playing an instrument or learning a language. This method can be beneficial for self-development as well as your health and wellbeing.
To Do Today List: There is an old saying "don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today". Doing things on time can be vital, especially if you have deadlines. Having a list of lots of tasks that need to be done can be very stressful and may, in turn, cause procrastination. It is essential to prepare a list or plan for the day and prioritise the most important tasks first and leave less important tasks until later. Try to keep your list short and simple as much as you can. This method will help you focus on important tasks, and when you start with these tasks and finish them, you will have more confidence and increased willingness to do other jobs. The more productive you are, the more energised you will feel to progress to other tasks.
Self Motivation: It is essential to motivate yourself and keep your motivation high to complete tasks. Being organised, educating yourself and rewarding yourself can help you to feel motivated. For instance, when you finished an important piece of work and achieved your objectives, you can reward yourself with a drink, meal, present or holiday. This practice will help you to keep motivated. Rewarding can also work when motivating others. For example, a parent can reward their child if they have passed all their exams. An employer can reward their employee if they have achieved their objectives or finished a vital task before a deadline.
How Can I help?
If you are experiencing procrastination, and it affects the quality of your personal, family, social and work life, then I might be able to help. I have been working with my clients who experience procrastination and laziness, and I help them overcome it. You can contact me by visiting the Contact page. We can arrange a free of charge meeting on the phone, skype or face-to-face, and see If I can help.