How to Stop Procrastination in its Tracks

We all know procrastination isn’t helping us. Yet we all too easily fall into its traps.

If procrastination is the opposite of choosing to live deliberately, then how can we short-circuit its oh-so-tempting siren call?

There are many reasons for procrastination, but each of us to tend to have a style that we fall into more often than not, in terms of the underlying reasons for our stalling tactics, whatever they may be.

Mostly, these have to do with our thinking patterns. Recognising our natural tendency is the most important step in deliberately choosing better ways forward!

Which of these procrastination styles sounds most familiar to you?

1. The Pleasure-seeker

Procrastination for you is primarily because there are other things you could be doing that would just be more fun. The most fun option tends to win out for you a lot of the time.

Idea: Try visualising how satisfying it would be to do the fun thing you want to do with the job you need to do already complete and not hanging over your head any more.


2. The High-jumper

You set very, very high expectations for yourself, and then become afraid you can’t meet them. It all becomes a bit overwhelming, and procrastination lets you hide from the pain or fear of failure from not clearing your own bar.

Idea: Try reflecting on your track record and how often there have been similar projects or tasks that you have in fact been able to complete well. This is my procrastination style, and I’ve learnt to have a little inner dialogue with myself that goes something like – ‘You won’t be any smarter or more inspired later – you’ll just have less time!’ 


3. The Newbie

What you have to do is newer, or bigger, or more complicated than you are used to, and you’re not sure you even know how. You procrastinate because you feel under-equipped to dive into the project or task.

Idea: Try sitting down and writing down what you do already know how to do for the task, and what you might need to research or find help for. You will be able to identify the next step, even if that next step is pulling up your contacts and finding someone who’s done something like it before.


4. The Power-holder

You, and no-one else, will decide what you do and when you do it. Procrastination on a task or project, even if it’s one you set yourself, feeds your sense that you are in control.

Idea: Reflect on how completing a task you have to or want to do will ultimately make you feel more in control of your life and your options for future decisions going forwards. 


5. The Big-thinker

Ideas are not problem for you. It’s the execution that’s the killer. You are great at the big, inspiring vision, but wish someone else could just take care of all the details.

Idea: Consider exploring some practical tools and systems for tackling the details of projects and tasks. I personally have found David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity‘ excellent for laying out a clear system of planning and execution, and both Evernote and OmniFocus (or the less expensive Wunderlist) for the actual digital tool side of getting things done systematically.


Whether your main procrastination style is one of those listed above, or another underlying cause, take control of your time and life by –

– Recognizing your procrastination style

– Finding a way to short-circuit counter-productive thinking and

– Replacing it with the deliberate choices you really want to make