top of page


Procrastination is a pattern, or style of thinking

Why are you procrastinating?

We all procrastinate for different reasons, and each task that we procrastinate on will come with its own set of negative emotions. However, popular reasons why we procrastinate include;

  • Low self-esteem – Not feeling good enough to complete the task.

  • Boredom – This isn’t what I truly want to be doing or how I want my life to be.

  • Self-doubt/Imposter Syndrome – Am I the right person for the job? I will never reach my goals.

  • Unpleasant task – This activity doesn’t sit comfortably with me. It makes me unhappy.

  • Insecurity – ‘They’ want me to fail.

  • Anxiety – The thought of the task and its aftermath is too scary to contemplate; it makes my heart race and makes me sick with nerves.

  • Stress – If I do this task, then I’ve got a million more things to tick off the list afterwards.

Procrastination and the brain

You may not have even thought about the negative emotions that you associate with a task. However, deep down, your mind is struggling to cope with the feelings you experience when you think about your objective.

Because of the negativity, you experience, the brain prioritises managing the negative moods over completing the activity. The mind wants to get rid of bad thoughts and negative emotions. It sees this as a more urgent task, so it tells you to put off the task which gives you instant relief.

However, sadly, procrastination is a never-ending cycle. Every time you think about the task again, it causes more stress and anxiety alongside all of the other negative emotions you are feeling. This will usually make you procrastinate again and again until you have no other option than to give in and getting the job done (often without your usual high standards) or avoiding the task altogether.

The rewards centre of the brain will love the fact that you are taking a break from the negative emotions of the task. However, this break is a chance to remove yourself from the immediate situation and work out what negative emotions are hindering your progress.

Find somewhere quiet to sit, go for a walk or do something mindless so you have the mental space to think about what negative emotions you are feeling and why this could be leading you to procrastinate.

Positive intentions

In a positive and kind state, realise that your procrastination is setting you up for more stress or a bigger issue in the long run. Think about your procrastination and what the consequences may be. Weigh up the current negative feeling and the feelings you will have if you procrastinate for much longer. It may help to rate your negative emotions on a scale of one to ten to see the difference.

Be realistic

Create a plan of action that not only minimises the negative emotions you are experiencing but also meets the needs of the reward centre in the brain. This plan should be realistic. Start small by breaking down to activity into more achievable chunks. Make sure you make it as easy as possible to start and provide lots of rewarding milestones along the way to keep you motivated to achieve positive results.

Always set a deadline – When you feel no sense of urgency, it is easy to keep putting something off. Always set deadlines for goals to avoid giving yourself a pass to keep putting them off. It doesn't have to be super rigid; however, you should set a realistic deadline that you can meet so you won't feel the need to change your deadline 100 times.

Try to do things in pieces, rather than large chunks – When we have huge goals or large tasks to pull off, it can be so overwhelming that we procrastinate getting started. Divide big tasks into smaller goals that you can meet and will help you achieve the larger one.

Get rid of time-wasters – Procrastination often births time-wasting traps. One example of this is if you are trying to get work done on your computer, but you have Facebook open in a tab or your phone's notifications keep going off. If you find the reason you are procrastinating is that you have too many distractions available, try to eliminate as many as possible. Consider changing your environment if that helps. In the example I just gave, this may mean closing your social media while working or silencing your phone.

Remember that sometimes now is a perfect time– A lot of the time, the reason we procrastinate is that we don't think now is a good time. We think we need more of something (money, time, etc) to start something. This is so far from the truth and sometimes we just need to get started. If you find yourself putting something off, ask yourself: Is this really not a good time or are you simply afraid to start or try?

Reward yourself – It is important to reward ourselves when we are trying to learn how to stop procrastinating. The rewards don't have to be big or even cost anything, either! Help yourself reach a goal by giving yourself a reward when you reach it.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page