Mental Health

How To Stop Procrastinating? A Step-By-Step Guide

Sometimes, procrastination can get to you, so much so that you leave all the difficult tasks for later until you reach the deadline, panic, complete the work, and procrastinate again. Breaking this cycle is essential, and that’s only possible once you understand why we procrastinate and how to stop procrastinating to enhance productivity!

By URLife Team
23 Dec 2022

“I’ll do this later.” “Not now, in a bit.” We all have moments when we don’t want to do a certain thing, so we put it off for another time. Procrastination is common. We think of reasons to convince ourselves that delaying the task is the right decision at the moment. It all comes down to our level of self-control and our ability to convince (read: deceive) ourselves. It's a sneaky habit—pushing off tasks until the last minute—but procrastination can have serious negative impacts on our lives.

So, why do we procrastinate? What are some of the effects of this behaviour? And most importantly how to stop procrastinating? Read on to uncover below.


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Why Do We Procrastinate?

No one loves to procrastinate. But no matter how much we avoid it, the truth is that on some days, we find ourselves putting off things until the last minute rather than finishing them off before time. Read to learn why we procrastinate.

1. Lack Of Self Control

Procrastinating is tied to not being able to regulate oneself accurately and manage one’s own time. People who lack self-control tend to enjoy the small periods of not completing their tasks, instead of focusing on achieving long-term goals tied to finishing off tasks on time. According to a Juniper Publishers journal, lack of self-control is the main cause of procrastination. To stop procrastinating, some people try to give themselves deadlines to train their minds to become better at managing time. This way, a specific timeline can stress their minds into doing things on time.


2. Triggers Unsettling Emotions

For most people with anxiety, procrastination helps them manage their emotions externally for the time being. The idea that a task can wait can bring them a sense of calm even though it is temporary. However, this can trigger unsettled emotions later on leading to more anxiety as more tasks pile on until the last minute.


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3. Segregate And Prioritise Work

Research by Maryam Kouchaki, professor of management and organisations, at Kellogg School of Management, USA shows that when we procrastinate on difficult tasks and favour easier tasks, we impede our ability to learn and improve our skills since we actively avoid opportunities that challenge us.


4. Gap Between Intentions And Behaviour

People constantly searching for solutions to stop procrastinating may notice that their intentions to complete a task are legit, but they fail to take any steps or actions that lead to task completion. Improper planning can create chaos, which can often trigger more procrastination.


What Are The Effects Of Procrastination?

Procrastinating for a prolonged period can lead to major productivity loss. It can also adversely affect your mental health since you will constantly worry about the stress of your delayed task. Here are some negative effects of procrastination:

  • Health Problems: A 2022 Frontiers research stated that chronic procrastination might lead to high stress and individuals who regularly procrastinate are more likely to develop health issues like digestive problems, insomnia, and muscle tension.
  • Poor Job Performance: According to Wiley Online Library’s research, employees realised how procrastination had a negative impact on their performance.. Furthermore, the study went on to emphasise that procrastination is linked with unemployment, lower income, and short employment duration..
  • Mental and Emotional Issues: Procrastination relates to increased anxiety and depression symptoms along with reduced self-compassion, a Taylor and Francis study revealed.


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How To Stop Procrastinating

Knowing how to deal with procrastination is essential if you wish to better your mental health and perform well at work. . Here are some ways to tackle procrastination better and, in the process, teach yourself to quit the habit. .

1. Get Your To-Do Lists Out

A to-do task list can be one of the options to avoid procrastination. Not only will this help you stay on track, but will also be beneficial in the long run. .

Along with a to-do list, you can also follow Twitter’s ex-CEO Jack Dorsey’s footsteps in creating a “won’t do list” that helps him stay productive. Before he begins the day, he’ll categorise his checklist into two categories: to-do and won’t. Then, as he finishes his to-do list, he moves on to his won’t do one.


2. Try The Two-Minute Rule

Set the habit by starting small, perform tasks that take less than two minutes to create a routine for yourself. Once this habit is formed, you can begin adding to it; this could mean increasing the time spent on each task or introducing new tasks that build upon the gateway habit. This way, you can progress towards your larger goal by taking small steps and establishing a strong foundation.

It is important to remember that if something takes less than two minutes, do it now and make a habit of it. This way, you can keep progressing towards your goals without feeling overwhelmed. By creating two-minute habits, you can create a foundation that leads to larger goals. Committing to tasks that require less than two minutes will help you form habits that will shape your success trajectory.


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3. Break Big Tasks Into Smaller Fragments

Instead of taking on too much work in one go, divide tasks into smaller ones and complete them throughout the day. By doing this, you will prevent breaking your cycle of thought and let creativity flow throughout the task batch-wise. It is an effective procrastination solution because some people find concentrating difficult while taking on too much work at a time.


4. Set A Timeframe

Setting deadlines is another effective way to overcome procrastination. You can employ the “five-minute rule” of Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom over here. Give yourself five minutes to overcome something your mind tricks you into believing is difficult and avoids it.

Five minutes is all it takes to break down your bigger and more complicated goals. This way, your mind keeps thinking about it constantly, ultimately motivating you to complete the task and achieve your goal, hence avoiding procrastination.


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5. Plan Out Your Tasks Well In Advance

End your day in a way that you have the next day planned at work. This way, when you take up tasks for the next day, you’d know exactly what’s on your plate. For example, don’t leave the next day’s task as is. Plan how you will start it the next day and what the immediate steps would be to accomplish it.


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6. Honour Your Future Self

Recognise self-respect as a key factor in dealing with procrastination. Establishing a connection between your present and future self is a way to honour your future. Respect the desires of your future self by arranging tasks according to present needs.


7. Create A Routine And Stick To It

Creating a routine is important, but you also need to work on it for more efficiency. The first step to avoid procrastination is to come up with a strategic plan for the day. The second step, which is managing distractions on the path, is equally important, as that is the main step that is going to help you overcome procrastination.


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8. Focus On The ‘Whys’

Take the time to understand the purpose and significance behind the tasks. It's human nature to get distracted by activities that are more pleasurable and enjoyable. To overcome procrastination, use a few moments to reflect on the "why" of the task, letting it be the motivation to get going.


Embrace The Bandwagon Of Procrastination!

Yes, it’s completely contradictory to what we suggested about how to stop procrastinating earlier. But, hear us out…

We are in no way convincing you that keeping aside your most important task is okay, it’s not. But we as humans, tend to go through tough days when it may not physically or mentally be possible to work through the task. This can lead to procrastination sometimes, but it is important to understand to not make this a habit. If a task is not urgent, there’s always another day to complete it. So, don’t beat yourself up for it unless there are deadlines that need to be chased. At the end of the day, it is important to realise it is essential to not slack but rather be proactive in completing all tasks on time in order to avoid procrastination.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.








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