How to Stop Procrastinating: Proven Tips and Techniques for Overcoming Procrastination

27 Sept 2023

Ah, procrastination is the art of delaying important tasks instead of binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. We’ve all been there. But what if there were practical tips and techniques on how to stop procrastinating that could help you overcome procrastination and become the productivity powerhouse you’ve always dreamed of? Buckle up, dear reader, for we’re about to dive into the world of beating procrastination and reclaiming your time. You’re welcome.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways

  2. Understanding Procrastination

    • The Definition of Procrastination

    • Causes of Procrastination

    • Types of Procrastinators

  3. Practical Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination

    • Breaking Tasks into Smaller Steps

    • Prioritising Tasks

    • Setting Realistic Goals and Deadlines

  4. Boosting Motivation and Self-Control

    • Internal vs. External Rewards

    • Developing Self-Discipline

    • Visualising Success

  5. Creating a Productive Environment

    • Physical Workspace Organisation

    • Digital Workspace Management

  6. Harnessing Social Support

    • Accountability Partners

    • Sharing Goals with Others

    • Hiring Expertise to Overcome Skill Gaps

  7. Developing Emotional Resilience

    • Self-Compassion

    • Managing Negative Emotions

  8. Time Management Techniques

    • The Pomodoro Technique

    • The Two-Minute Rule

  9. Summary

  10. Frequently Asked Questions

Key Takeaways

  • Arm yourself with knowledge of procrastination’s definition, causes and types to better combat it!

  • Break down big tasks into small pieces and prioritise them by deadline for success.

  • Develop self-discipline, practice emotional resilience & use time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique & Two Minute Rule.

Understanding Procrastination

An image showing a person crossing off tasks on a to-do list, representing effective strategies on how to stop procrastinating.

To effectively combat procrastination, our first step is to comprehend its true nature. Born from various causes and manifesting in different forms, procrastination is a complex phenomenon. By understanding the definition, causes, and types of procrastinators, we can better equip ourselves with the tools and strategies necessary to slay this productivity-sucking monster. So, grab your anti-procrastination sword and let’s begin our quest!

Knowing your enemy is the first step; thus, we start by defining procrastination. Procrastination is the art of putting off tasks and activities until the very last minute, often leading to negative consequences. Now that we know what we’re up against, it’s time to delve deeper into the causes and types of procrastinators. This knowledge will strengthen our anti-procrastination arsenal and aid us in our battle to overcome this tenacious foe.

The Definition of Procrastination

Procrastination is an active decision to do something else instead of an important task, often leading to negative consequences, such as rushed work or missed opportunities. It’s a delightful self-regulatory failure where people voluntarily but irrationally delay essential tasks, often for less important ones.

Developing focus and motivation through specific strategies and habits is key to breaking the procrastination habit. It’s time to bid farewell to procrastination and hello to productivity!

Causes of Procrastination

Chronic procrastination has a myriad of causes, some of which may surprise you. Some common culprits include:

  • Fear of failure

  • Perfectionism

  • Poor organisation

  • Time inconsistency

These factors contribute to our inability to resist the siren call of instant gratification, leading us to choose short-term rewards over long-term benefits.

Identifying and addressing the underlying causes is a vital step in overcoming procrastination effectively. By developing self-discipline, setting realistic goals, and prioritising tasks effectively, we can conquer our procrastination demons and reclaim our time.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work on tackling these pesky causes head-on!

Types of Procrastinators

Did you know there are different types of procrastinators? That’s right! The four main types include:

  1. The perfectionist: This type of procrastinator is always striving for perfection, often to the point of paralysis. They fear making mistakes, so they delay starting tasks to avoid the possibility of failure.

  2. The overwhelmed: This procrastinator feels swamped by the sheer volume of tasks they need to complete. The feeling of being overwhelmed can cause them to freeze and put off tasks.

  3. The procrastinator-by-choice: This type procrastinates willingly, often choosing leisure activities over pending tasks. They prioritise immediate gratification over long-term gains.

  4. The revenge bedtime procrastinator: This type of procrastinator deliberately delays going to bed at night to reclaim some personal time, often at the cost of adequate sleep.

Each type has its own unique challenges when it comes to overcoming procrastination, especially when focusing on a particular task.

By identifying which type of procrastinator you are, you can develop targeted strategies to counteract your tendencies and finally break free from the clutches of procrastination. So, which type are you?

Practical Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination

A person writing down tasks on a to-do list

Equipped with a better understanding of procrastination, we move on to arm ourselves with practical strategies for defeating it. These tactics include breaking tasks into smaller steps, prioritising tasks, and setting realistic goals and deadlines to stop procrastinating.

Implementing these strategies can pave the way to effectively overcome procrastination, transforming us into productivity ninjas. So, let’s get down to business and learn how to wield these powerful strategies like a pro!

Breaking Tasks into Smaller Steps

Breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps is a highly effective method to combat procrastination. This helps reduce overwhelm and makes progress more achievable. When faced with a daunting task, it’s easy to feel paralysed by its enormity. But by dividing the task into smaller chunks, we can tackle each piece one at a time, making it much more approachable and less intimidating. In fact, completing such tasks becomes significantly easier when broken down into manageable steps.

Some helpful techniques for breaking tasks into smaller steps include using the Pomodoro Technique, where work is divided into focused intervals with short breaks in between, and the Two-Minute Rule, which encourages us to complete tasks that take two minutes or less immediately to prevent them from piling up. By applying these techniques, we can conquer even the most overwhelming tasks and keep procrastination at bay.

Prioritising Tasks

Another potent weapon in our anti-procrastination arsenal is the act of prioritising tasks. By focusing on the most important and urgent tasks first, we can ensure that our time and energy are spent on what truly matters. This helps us avoid procrastination caused by feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start.

To prioritise tasks effectively, consider using a to-do list or a project management tool to organise tasks by priority and deadline. This will help you stay focused on your most critical goals and projects, making it easier to resist the temptation to procrastinate on unimportant tasks and focus on important tasks.

With a clear plan of action and a laser focus on what’s most important, we can tackle our tasks head-on and keep procrastination at bay.

Setting Realistic Goals and Deadlines

In our quest to overcome procrastination, setting realistic goals and deadlines is a key element. By creating a sense of urgency and motivation to complete tasks, we can ensure that we stay on track and make steady progress toward our objectives. Unrealistic goals and deadlines can lead to feelings of overwhelm and failure, which only serve to fuel our procrastination tendencies.

To set realistic goals and deadlines, consider using techniques such as the 70 percent rule, where you aim to complete 70 percent of a task before moving on to the next, and the 5-second rule, which encourages you to take action within 5 seconds of making a decision. By implementing these strategies, we can create a sense of urgency and motivation that will keep procrastination at bay and help us achieve our goals.

Boosting Motivation and Self-Control

A person looking at a reward chart, feeling motivated to complete tasks

Beyond practical strategies for overcoming procrastination, boosting our motivation and self-control is also of paramount importance. By strengthening these inner resources, we can ensure that we have the drive and determination to stay focused on our goals, no matter whats the situation, even when the going gets tough in our own life.

This section will explore techniques to boost motivation and self-control, including harnessing internal and external rewards, cultivating self-discipline, and envisioning success.

Internal vs. External Rewards

To effectively motivate ourselves, it’s important to understand the difference between internal and external rewards. Internal rewards are those that come from within, such as a sense of accomplishment or personal contentment.

External rewards, on the other hand, are tangible rewards like money, recognition, or praise. By using a combination of both types of rewards, we can ensure that we stay motivated and focused on achieving our goals, no matter the obstacles that stand in our way.

Developing Self-Discipline

Cultivating self-discipline is an indispensable component in the journey to overcome procrastination. It requires consistent practice and commitment to personal growth. By strengthening our self-discipline, we can resist the temptations and distractions that often lead to procrastination and stay focused on our goals.

Some tips for developing self-discipline include setting realistic goals and deadlines, breaking tasks into smaller steps, and using techniques like the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused and on track. By implementing these strategies, we can build our self-discipline muscle and become masters of our own destiny, leaving procrastination in the dust.

Visualising Success

Envisioning success serves as a potent tool to maintain motivation and keep our focus on the goals at hand. By imagining our future self achieving our objectives and reaping the rewards of our hard work, we can create a sense of excitement and anticipation that propels us forward.

So, close your eyes and picture yourself as the productivity powerhouse you were always meant to be!

Creating a Productive Environment

A person organizing their workspace

The environment we inhabit significantly impacts our capacity to focus and be productive. A cluttered, chaotic workspace can make it challenging to concentrate and may even contribute to our procrastination tendencies.

This section will guide you through creating a conducive environment that minimises distractions and promotes focus in both the physical and digital realms.

Physical Workspace Organisation

An organised, clutter-free workspace is essential for productivity and focus. By reducing visual distractions and ensuring that everything has a designated place, we can create a more conducive environment for tackling our tasks.

So, take a moment to declutter your workspace, designate a specific area for work, and organise your items to create a more focused and productive environment.

Digital Workspace Management

In today’s world, our digital workspaces are just as important as our physical ones. Unnecessary notifications, disorganised files, and countless open browser tabs can wreak havoc on our focus and productivity. To create a more productive digital environment, consider eliminating unnecessary notifications, organising your files for easy access, and using tools like file management software to keep everything in order.

With a well-managed digital workspace, we can minimise distractions and make it easier to stay on task, ultimately reducing our tendency to procrastinate and improving our overall productivity. So, take some time to tidy up your digital space and watch your productivity soar!

Harnessing Social Support

A person talking to a friend, discussing their goals

While battling procrastination, we’re not required to go it alone. Social support can be a powerful ally in staying accountable and motivated to overcome procrastination. By sharing our goals with others, finding an accountability partner, or even joining an online community, we can harness the power of social support to help us stay on track and achieve our objectives.

Accountability Partners

An accountability partner is like having a personal cheerleader by your side, making sure you stay on track and remain focused on your goals. By sharing your goals and progress with an accountability partner, you can provide mutual support and motivation to help each other stay on track and overcome procrastination.

So, consider enlisting the help of a friend, family member, or even a professional accountability partner to keep you accountable and motivated in your quest to vanquish procrastination.

Sharing Goals with Others

Sharing your goals with others can have a positive impact on your motivation and accountability. Here are some benefits of making your goals public:

  • Gain support and encouragement from friends, family, or an online community

  • Create a sense of responsibility and commitment

  • Increase accountability and reduce procrastination

By sharing your goals, you can stay on track and motivated to achieve them.

So, don’t be shy about sharing your aspirations with the world and watch as the power of social support helps propel you toward success.

Hiring Expertise to Overcome Skill Gaps

I'm a big believer that procrastination sneaks in when you can't do something or it's slightly outside your skill set. One of the quickest ways to fix this and remove that procrastination is to hire someone to do it. With our globally connected world, we can hire someone most of the time at a price point that works for our budget. Whether it's a task in your business, home renovations, or learning a new skill, bringing in an expert can expedite the process and keep you moving forward.

Developing Emotional Resilience

A person looking in the mirror, practicing self-compassion

Overcoming procrastination is not just about practical strategies and time management techniques; it also requires developing emotional resilience to cope with setbacks and negative emotions related to procrastination.

This section will delve into the realm of emotional resilience to understand how practicing self-compassion and managing negative emotions can assist us in overcoming procrastination and retaining focus on our goals.


Practicing self-compassion is essential in overcoming procrastination, as it helps us to develop self compassion and:

  • Give ourselves a break and not be too harsh on ourselves when we face challenges or setbacks

  • Treat ourselves with kindness and understanding

  • Create a healthier mindset that allows us to bounce back from setbacks

  • Stay focused on our goals

So, remember to be kind to yourself, and don’t be too hard on yourself when you inevitably encounter obstacles on your journey to conquer procrastination.

Managing Negative Emotions

Negative emotions, such as fear and anxiety, can often be the driving force behind our procrastination tendencies. By learning to manage these negative emotions, we can prevent them from causing us to procrastinate and keep us on track to achieve our goals.

Some techniques for managing negative emotions include mindfulness, positive self-talk, and relaxation techniques. By incorporating these strategies into our daily lives, we can effectively manage negative emotions and prevent them from derailing our progress.

So, take a deep breath, practice some positive self-talk, and face your fears head-on, knowing that you have the tools to overcome any emotional obstacles that may come your way.

Time Management Techniques

A person setting a timer, focusing on a task

Another pivotal aspect of overcoming procrastination is effective time management. By implementing effective time management techniques, we can improve our productivity and reduce the likelihood of procrastination taking hold.

This section will delve into two popular time management techniques, the Pomodoro Technique and the Two-Minute Rule, discussing their effectiveness in maintaining focus and staying on track in our battle against procrastination.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves breaking work into focused intervals, usually 25 minutes long, followed by a short break. This technique helps maintain a high level of focus and productivity while also ensuring that you take regular breaks to prevent burnout.

By using the Pomodoro Technique, you can effectively minimise distractions and stay on task, ultimately reducing your tendency to procrastinate. So, set your timer, get to work, and enjoy the satisfaction of ticking off those tasks one Pomodoro at a time!

The Two-Minute Rule

The Two-Minute Rule is another time management technique that can help keep procrastination at bay. This rule states that if a task can be completed in two minutes or less, it should be done immediately. By tackling these small tasks right away, we can prevent them from piling up and causing overwhelm.

Applying the Two-Minute Rule in our daily lives can help us stay on top of tasks and maintain a sense of accomplishment, ultimately reducing our tendency to procrastinate. So, the next time you encounter a small task that takes a few minutes, remember the Two-Minute Rule and get it done without delay!


In this blog post, we’ve explored the many facets of procrastination and provided practical tips and techniques to help you overcome this productivity-sapping habit. By understanding the causes of procrastination, implementing practical strategies, boosting motivation and self-control, creating a productive environment, harnessing social support, developing emotional resilience, and utilising time management techniques, you’ll be well on your way to conquering procrastination and becoming the productivity powerhouse you were always meant to be. So, go forth and conquer, dear reader, and remember that the key to overcoming procrastination lies within you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main cause of procrastination?

It turns out procrastination is caused by stress, fear, anxiety, or even ADHD – not laziness. So be gentle with yourself if you find yourself procrastinating; there's likely something else at play here.

What is the 2 minute rule of procrastination?

The Two-Minute Rule, a time management system created by David Allen in his book 'Getting Things Done', states that if an action can be completed within two minutes or less, it should be done immediately to avoid procrastination. This system is designed to help individuals accomplish small tasks, helping to make larger tasks more manageable.

How do I stop procrastinating ADHD?

Fight procrastination with ADHD by breaking large tasks into smaller ones, creating rewards for motivation, limiting distractions, using SMART goals and prioritisation techniques, tracking time, and avoiding overstimulation. Make the most of physical activity, daily rhythms, and accountability to stay committed to your goals.

What is the 3 minute rule for procrastination?

The 3 minute rule for procrastination suggests that if you're struggling with a task, give it three minutes of your time. Doing this short amount of work can help break the cycle of procrastination and allow you to make progress on an intimidating task without feeling overwhelmed. It's worth a shot!

How to stop procrastination?

If you want to beat procrastination, break down your big tasks into smaller chunks, set small goals, plan ahead, finish things, and don't be hard on yourself!