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Procrastination: what it is and what to do about it


Most people, when asked if they procrastinate, nod and start telling you about all the things they’ve avoided (and continue to avoid) doing in their lives. As such, almost everyone can identify with procrastinating on certain tasks in their lives. Studies around the world have found that about 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators, often much higher in educational settings such as high school and college (75-90%). What this means is that procrastination is fairly typical behavior for many people, so don’t be fooled into thinking you’re alone. This article is a guide to help you understand procrastination and learn ways to overcome procrastination so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

What is procrastination?

It is a common misconception that procrastination is laziness. Procrastination has nothing to do with being lazy. Rather it is delaying a task you are committed to and doing something of lesser importance instead. This will often lead to the person suffering negative consequences for not continuing with the original task. Procrastination is essentially an intentional decision, yet for many people the decision happens so quickly, so automatically, that many people don’t even realize they’ve made a decision. This web page is dedicated to helping you recognize this thought process and overcome it.

What do you procrastinate about?

Even if you identify as a procrastinator, that doesn’t mean you put off doing everything in life (although for some people, this is the case!) There are many different areas in our lives that are subject to procrastination. Change our diet or exercise routine, write that essay for next week or buy Christmas gifts. Any task that we need to complete can and will be a source of procrastination for some people. If you’re like most people, there will be areas of your life that you control and areas where procrastination prevents you from doing anything.

Tips for procrastination

Keep a notebook and write down every time you notice you’ve put off something important to do something less important, even if you know it’s not what you want to do in the long run. By doing this, you will begin to recognize the areas of your life that you put off and the areas that you don’t.

To help with this process, use the following areas in your notebook:

• To work
• Family
• To study
• Health
• Financial
• Social, Family and Relationships
• Self-development
• Decision making
• Other

Once you’ve done this for a week, figure out which areas cause you the most complaints, distress, or negative consequences in your life. Start with the easiest task first instead of trying to tackle them all at once. Procrastination in most people is a very old habit, so to break the habit you need to start slowly and take one step at a time.


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