5 Steps to Avoid…Procrastination

by Pat Fagan-Jackson


Psychologists see procrastination as a kind of avoidance behavior. Everyone puts things off until the last minute sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day.

Here are some ways to stop procrastination:

  1. Set Concrete Goals The most effective goals are specific, measurable, and achievable. They establish a direction and they force us to prioritize. Goals identify intended results – this helps us keep our eyes on the prize.
  2. Set Priorities – Write down all the things that you need to do, and place them in order of importance. The most important tasks belong at the top of your list and the distractions go at the bottom. Start at the top of your list and work your way down.
  3. Break your work into little steps – Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time.
  4. Tell others about your goals  Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects. It is a great way to keep yourself accountable.
  5. Reward Yourself  When you complete a task, acknowledge what you have done. Reinforcement is a good way to motivate yourself.

Get a grip and just do it. In the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen.

Still overwhelmed? Take the first step by calling your EAP. Perspectives’ masters- and doctoral-level counselors can offer assistance and support when the work becomes too overwhelming. Give us a call at (800) 866-7556.

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