“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
-Edward Young

You do it. I do it. We all do it at some point in our lives. Some may do it more than others. But the devil called procrastination has visited all of us at least once and usually, multiple times through various trials and tribulations.

How do we combat it?

The following tips are from various articles I found while researching online. Each tip is duly credited.

The first tip I found is suggested by psychologist Nick Wignall. Wignall suggests that procrastination is often accompanied by negativity. When we put something off that we’re supposed to do, it’s because thinking about the task at hand is a sour point. That negativity then carries over to other things we’re doing.

Wignall said to avoid this is, reinforce your procrastination with positivity. To be clear, of course this does not mean to tell yourself that procrastination is a good thing.

Rather, tell yourself something to the effect of, “I may be tempted to procrastinate this particular task but I am disciplined in other tasks to complete like xyz.” Or you may tell yourself “I may be procrastinating at the moment but it won’t last. Sooner than later, I will stop and get everything done because I have the capability to do so.”

Another idea, suggested by Dr. Ellen Hendriksen in an article posted in 2018 on pyschologytoday.com, is to trick yourself into thinking you’re procrastinating when you’re really not. Prepare yourself for whatever you have to do by estimating a longer time than that particular task will take.

For example, if you think a particular task might take you an hour, schedule two hours. Once you’re done “early,” psychologically you’ll be proud of yourself for finishing up so quickly and have “more time” to do what you really want. Also, the next time the same task makes it way to your schedule, you less likely to associate a negative connotation with it.

Another tip is to break down the task into a list of multiple steps and than add your additional steps to the list.

Let’s say you have wash the dishes. First, make a list that says, “Scrub with soap. Rinse. Dry. Put away.” Now here’s the kicker. On top of that list, add something like “curse the dishes” or “vent frustration.”

This helps in two ways.

  • Firstly, expressing your feelings as a part of the task will make it more appealing.
  • Secondly, crossing it off on the list, will make you think that you’ve already completed the first two steps. This in turn will motivate you to keep going. The human mind is a lot more likely to continue something rather than actually start it.

Last but certainly not least, is a tip commonly referred to as “The Seinfeld Method.” The method gets its name from an interview comedian Jerry Seinfeld did in which he talked about his process of developing new and fresh material for his comedy act as well as his classic TV show.

Here’s how it works: First, draw a big chain on a poster or a fairly large piece of paper. Give the chain a positive name such as “The Champion Chain” or “I’m The Best Chain” or something similar. When you complete any task, be it a mundane one or a crucial one, mark one of the links with big “X.” Remind yourself that you don’t want to break the chain in anyway because completing it will make you a champion and/or prove you’re the best.

Each time you mark a chain, gloat to yourself of how good you are and how you’ll be even better when you complete the chain. The longer the chain, the more special you are.

You might notice that all of the tips mentioned above are all about motivation and changing your way of thinking. That’s the key element to solving any problem. The most arduous tasks in the world are often categorized as difficult for more psychological reasons than physical.

Certainly not every single task but many of them. So if you trick yourself enough times, perception will become reality.

Do you procrastinate often? If so, have you tried any tips or methods to counter it? If so, what are they? If not, do you think the aforementioned tips will help? Why or why not? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

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Hi, I'm Neel! I'm a writer (fiction and poetry), a journalist and currently working in the advertising business. I'm also a mental health advocate, having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago.
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