How to Beat Procrastination and Take Charge of Your Life healthcare nt sickcare

How to Beat Procrastination? Take Charge of Your Life

Procrastination affects us all at some point. When a task seems boring, difficult, or anxiety-provoking, it's tempting to keep putting it off. However, chronically avoiding important tasks and responsibilities can negatively impact your productivity, health, and overall well-being. With some self-reflection and behaviour changes, you can overcome procrastination and learn how to get things done promptly and effectively.

What is Procrastination and Why Do We Do It?

Procrastination means purposefully delaying or avoiding doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It's a common coping strategy used when facing unpleasant but necessary duties. Procrastination can take on many forms, like:

  • Putting off starting or finishing projects
  • Failing to complete daily chores and responsibilities
  • Continually showing up late, missing deadlines
  • Blowing off health appointments and checkups

Procrastination usually stems from the emotions triggered when contemplating a task. Boring, frustrating, overwhelming or confusing work can all prompt avoidance. Fears of failure or criticism may also lead to dodging responsibilities. Short-term, it feels better to procrastinate. But long-term it causes major stress and productivity problems. Learning what motivates your delays and avoiding triggers can help curb chronic procrastination.

Types of Procrastination and Associated Causes

There are a few main categories of procrastination, which relate to different thought patterns and motivations behind the behaviour:

  1. Decisional Procrastination: Involves putting off making decisions about what actions to take. Associated with perfectionism, fear of failure/mistakes, and information overload.
  2. Avoidance Procrastination: Delaying simple or mundane tasks in favour of options that offer more short-term mood boosts or pleasure. Stems from boredom, distraction, resentment.
  3. Academic Procrastination: Very common among students. Typified by missed deadlines, neglected assignments, and cramming. Relates to fears of failure, task aversiveness, and self-doubt.

The specific type of procrastination and underlying cause provides insight into the best techniques for overcoming it. Figuring out if boredom, negative feelings, perfectionism or other factors motivate your delays allows you to address the root of the behaviour.

Recognizing the Signs of Chronic Procrastination

Occasional task avoidance isn’t necessarily problematic on its own. However chronic, excessive delay indicates dysfunctional procrastination that requires active change. Signs of habitual, harmful procrastination include:

  • Regularly missing deadlines or being late
  • Rushing to finish assignments last minute
  • Paying fees for late bills and paperwork
  • Facing anxiety when starting tasks
  • Feeling overwhelmed with work and responsibilities
  • Constant self-criticism about lack of progress
  • Avoiding thinking about or planning for the future
  • Frequently disappointing people with broken promises

If chronic procrastination is severely impacting productivity and mental health, seeking guidance from a time management coach or therapist may be beneficial too.

How to Test for Procrastination?

Here are some ways to test for procrastination tendencies:

  1. Procrastination Questionnaires Standardized questionnaires like the General Procrastination Scale, Adult Inventory of Procrastination, Irrational Procrastination Scale etc. Ask a series of questions measuring procrastination levels across life areas based on self-perceptions.
  2. Task Tracking Keep a log of tasks needed to be completed over a set period e.g. 1-2 weeks along with expected and actual completion times. Comparing planned versus actual task timelines objectively quantifies procrastination behaviors and delays.
  3. Peer/Supervisor Input Those who know you well like friends, parents, colleagues or managers often have awareness regarding your work/assignment completion efficiency. Their third-party procrastination observations complement self-ratings.
  4. Monitor Stress Biomarkers As procrastination often induces performance stress when delaying urgent tasks, monitoring stress biomarkers like cortisol levels indicates peak procrastination periods causing near deadline anxiety.
  5. App-based Habit Trackers Software applications prompting daily task logging enable procrastination tracking by revealing inconsistent completion rates or skewed distribution toward deadlines.

Identifying procrastination tendencies via testing sets the stage for interventions - like productivity hacks, workflow changes, cognitive restructuring techniques - that minimize needless delaying.

How to Stop Procrastinating? Tips and Strategies

Reining in persistent procrastination takes diligence, but is very possible. Start by identifying your procrastination triggers, patterns and goals. Then gradually implement life changes oriented towards procrastinating less with key strategies like:

  1. Set Process-Oriented Goals: For big intimidating goals, focus on succeeding at smaller process-based steps first. Break them down into more manageable parts so progress seems less scary.
  2. Schedule Realistically: Don’t overestimate what you can achieve in a day. Set goals you can meet so you don’t feel defeated.
  3. Prioritize Tasks: Tackle high-priority tasks first. Having clear priorities limits decision fatigue over what to do next.
  4. Create Accountability: Enlist others to check on your progress and hold you responsible. Or leverage apps to track habits.
  5. Remove Distractions: Temporarily block distracting websites and apps while trying to focus.
  6. Reward Yourself: Incentivize task completion by planning fun activities as rewards. But don’t reward yourself with too much distraction.
  7. Start Your Day with Important Tasks: Tackle the hardest items early before mental fatigue sets in. Momentum will carry you through other duties.

With consistent effort, these science-backed strategies will help curb procrastination. But change won’t happen overnight. Stick with it even if progress seems slow at first. Stay patient while retraining your behaviours and mindset around productivity.

What are some examples of procrastination behaviour?

Some common examples include repeatedly hitting snooze on an alarm rather than getting up, postponing laundry for weeks until you’re out of clean clothes, showing up 15 minutes late to every meeting, cramming for exams the night before, leaving taxes unattended until April 14th, or continually putting off making important medical appointments even when symptoms persist.

Why do I keep procrastinating on important things?

People often habitually avoid vital tasks like finances or medical duties because they seem boring, unpleasant, overwhelming or intimidating at the moment. Even though rationally we know delaying them will cause more frustration and anxiety, we give preference to options offering short-term mood boosts. Identifying what specifically seems unpleasant about the tasks and working through those feelings with self-care strategies can help overcome chronic avoidance tendencies.

Am I struggling with chronic procrastination or something more serious like depression? How can I tell?

It’s possible to have symptoms of both conditions. Clues of clinical depression include withdrawn social behaviour, feelings of worthlessness/guilt, insomnia/fatigue and impaired concentration making even basic tasks difficult. If lack of motivation to start tasks goes beyond normal procrastination to loss of all drive plus sadness and other emotional issues daily for over 2 weeks, a depression evaluation may be needed. Speak to your doctor to assess the root causes of chronic avoidance issues and appropriate treatments. Getting needed support improves the ability to manage responsibilities.

What should someone newly trying to address procrastination focus on first?

One of the most useful initial steps is to track your tendencies - record what tasks you put off and identify patterns around what contributes to delay for 2 to 3 weeks. Does browsing social media lead to blowing off assignments for hours? Do you perpetually hit snooze and then rush through morning routines feeling unprepared and overwhelmed? Knowing your habits and triggers will inform solutions to try targeting weaknesses. Test different motivation and productivity tactics to determine what specifically works for your needs.

How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Urgent?

  1. For each vital task, objectively score its importance on a 1-5 scale based on factors like deadline dates, project impacts, and harm caused by delays.
  2. Be realistic - rarely do you truly have more than 2-3 extremely high-priority 4-5 items in one day. Constrain ratings appropriately.
  3. Complete tasks with the highest scores first. Schedule realistically so those items get proper time while also leaving a margin to handle urgent last-minute priorities arising.
  4. When feeling overwhelmed, pause to reassess scores and time needed. Adjust the schedule tactically while staying focused on top items. Communicate delays to stakeholders as early as needed.

How to Schedule Your Day to Prevent Procrastination?

  1. Allocate time slots for fixed priorities early each morning before willpower fades to avoid afternoon rushing or unfinished work.
  2. Assign realistic duration estimates for each task and appointment accounting for potential unexpected delays and interruptions that may arise. Leave buffer time.
  3. Schedule preferred and energy-boosting activities like exercise amid less desirable tasks as rewards for progress and breaks from mental strain.
  4. End the day early enough to complete needed routines so you feel organized and prepared to start strong the next day rather than feeling behind.
  5. Periodically review weekly schedules to improve the accuracy of time estimates and better balance heavy workload days.

Learning to overcome chronic procrastination requires first recognizing unhealthy delay habits and causes, then steadily implementing lifestyle changes tailored to your unique needs related to accountability, perspective shifts, priority alignment and scheduling. Stick with small attainable goals at first while giving behaviour adjustment sincere time and effort - transformations don’t happen instantly after years of ingrained avoidance tendencies. However, staying patient while finding procrastination solutions compatible with your strengths and vulnerabilities provides the best chance of success. Reclaim your potential by taking back control of your time!


At healthcare nt sickcare's online pathology lab, we provide convenient access to needed health tests while also offering relevant healthcare content to improve community well-being. Our qualified staff and accurate diagnostics can support readers struggling with procrastination tendencies that delay important checkups. Don't put off getting essential data about your health. Visit to arrange lab tests, learn about conditions impacting you, and get other resources to help prioritize your wellness. Invest in yourself - you're worth it!

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