What are the five surefire ways to beat procrastination

Surefire ways to beat procrastination - Centres for Health and Healing

Procrastination is something we all fall victim to at times.

Even the most well-organized, ambitious and punctual can sometimes develop procrastination.

What procrastination looks like for most people

While procrastination is a prevalent issue, it comes with severe consequences and can affect your work, school grades, and relationships.

Is there a way to beat procrastination?

There are ways to overcome procrastination and start living up to your true potential.

Indeed, taking the first steps to avoid procrastinating can sometimes be challenging.

However, once you take the necessary steps, you can avoid the anxiety, stress and low performance that comes from completing tasks too late or at the last minute.

Quick tips to avoid procrastination

Studies show that if you find yourself procrastinating more often than not, you may benefit by making a few subtle changes to your daily routine.

Such changes include:

  • Working on your time management skills
  • Carefully planning work projects or academic tasks
  • Developing a daily schedule 

Why do people procrastinate?

Research shows that fear is a major factor behind why people procrastinate.

This type of fear is threefold:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of messing up or making mistakes
  • Fear of success

Challenging your false beliefs

Mental health experts say that one of the best things a procrastinator can do to overcome any negative beliefs they hold about themselves is put them to the test.

Get curious

For example, if you believe that you aren’t good enough to lead a project or participate in a specific task, get curious about your beliefs by examining them in detail.

You may ask yourself the following:

  • When and why did I begin adopting these beliefs
  • Do the negative thoughts I hold about myself prevent me from reaching my true potential
  • What steps can I take to overcome any self-limiting beliefs 

When you get curious and start addressing the fears that prevent you from getting started, you decrease the likelihood of procrastination and, thus, overcome the habit.

Is procrastination similar to laziness?

Laziness and procrastination often get confused, but they are two entirely different things.

Broadly, procrastination is an active process.

The above involves choice, and in many instances of procrastination, people choose to do one task instead of the one they should be doing.

However, on the other hand, laziness often involves an unwillingness to take action – and for the most part, it requires inactivity and apathy.

Procrastination is an active choice.

Procrastinaton - Centres for Health and Healing

When you procrastinate, you ignore an unpleasant, undesirable task and replace it with a more pleasurable or easier one.

It’s often all too easy to give in to the above process, to choose the more straightforward thing over something that seems more challenging or less enjoyable.

However, caving into such an impulse can have profound consequences.


For instance, even mild episodes of procrastination can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and low self-worth.

Such feelings may lead to low productivity, and if procrastination continues in the long – term, it may lead to anxiety, depression, and even job loss in extreme cases.

What are the surefire ways to beat procrastination?

While there is no hard and fast rule to beat procrastination, research shows that there are practical steps you can take to overcome procrastination and start living your best life.

They include:

1. Identifying the signs of procrastination

Research suggests that when you begin tackling a task or project, it may be helpful to pay attention to your thoughts, i.e., when thoughts of procrastination start creeping in.


Symptoms of procrastination may vary between people.

However, if you find yourself doing the following, it may be a sign that you have started to procrastinate:

  • Telling yourself that you’ll have time to do a task later
  • Feeling like you don’t want to do a job right now
  • Convincing yourself that the task will turn out better if you ‘’save it for another time.’’
  • Hitting the snooze button over and over again in the morning
  • Always showing up late to appointments
  • Waiting until the last minute to do things
  • Finding that your house/office is always untidy and disorganized
  • Spending excessive amounts of time dreaming about the future and not taking action in the present
  • Spending too much time on social media
  • Constantly leaving things until tomorrow
  • Always coming up with lousy excuses for not getting things done
  • Never reaching your goals or finishing what you started

Don’t give in to the urge.

When the impulse to procrastinate emerges, try your best not to give in to the urge.

You may find it helpful to force yourself to spend at least a few minutes on the task, and in doing so, you will have made some progress.

Moreover, by getting started on the task, you may also begin to enjoy it and find it a lot easier to complete.

2. Getting rid of distractions

By turning off the radio, television and muting your Facebook notifications, you will have eliminated any distractions keeping you from completing an important task.

By blocking out your time and eliminating anything that may cause a distraction, you can focus all your attention on the project and increase your chances of getting it done on time.

3. Creating a list

Creating a list of things to do makes your tasks more visual. 

You might find it helpful to add completion dates next to each of your tasks, and if you want to get creative, you can add encouraging emojis or stickers as a reward.

Another helpful tip is to estimate how long each task will take and then double the figure to avoid falling into the mental trap of miscalculating the time it takes to complete each task.

4. Changing your environment

Different surroundings have a different impact on our motivation and productivity.

Examine where you work. 

Does your environment inspire you to work, or does it make you want to get cozy and fall asleep?

If you find yourself saying yes to the latter, it might be time to make some changes to your workspace.

Changing your workspace

Natural lighting may help increase your productivity, and it might also help if you add a few plants around your workspace.

If you find working in public places too much of a distraction, perhaps you could consider working from a library or another quiet place.

5. Giving yourself a reward

It’s crucial to reward yourself once you have completed an essential task.

Even if you only managed to complete a small portion of a project, or if the task was small, allow yourself the opportunity to indulge in a pleasurable activity such as binging your favourite TV series or going out with friends.

By rewarding yourself, you give yourself permission to celebrate your achievements and decrease the likelihood of procrastination in the future.

Overcoming procrastination

Overcoming procrastination and breaking the habit can be challenging.


Statistics show that procrastination chronically affects around 15 – 20% of adults and 80 – 95% of college students.

One study showed that 74% of surveyed adults indicated that they go to bed much later than planned at least once a week, with no viable reason for such behaviour.

Other studies examined the emotional effects of procrastination and found that:

  • 94% of people indicated that procrastination had negatively impacted their mental health. 
  • Over 18% of the studied sample indicated that procrastination harmed their overall well-being.
  • When asked about their procrastination, over 80% of college students reported such experiences as unfavourable.

Contact us

At Centres for Health and Healing, we specialize in various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and concurrent disorders.

Lisa Davies - Program Director of Vaughan Recovery and Kirby Estate

About Lisa Davies

Lisa is the Program Director at Centres for Health and Healing. She lived for most of her life in the Durham region, before moving to Peel five years ago.

Lisa is a Master Hypnotist and is certified in Hypnotherapy (2008), Self-Hypnosis and in 5-phase Advanced Therapeutic Healing. As a Member of National Guild of Hypnotists, she is also specialized in hypnosis training in pediatrics, pain management, neuro-linguistic and stage programming.

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