Procrastination: How Do We Stop It?

As we talked about in our last article procrastination is a common human behavior, born out of a primal need to avoid discomfort if at all possible. Our brains are wired that way, yet our lives are structured so as to require prompt action, speedy reaction and efficiency in everything to maximize creativity. How do we align these two conflicting needs? The key is to find a way to minimize the discomfort which open the pathway in your brain that allows motivation and forces movement. 

Short formula: Ask yourself the following sequential questions
1. Am I avoiding this _____________ (fill in the blank of task, meeting, whatever) because I don’t like that activity, have no interest in it?
2. I don’t feel competent to do the _____________.
Perfectionism is direct cause of procrastination: “If I can’t do it perfectly, I would rather just avoid it altogether."
If the answer is #1, then do the following:
·       Break the _____________ down into its smallest parts thinking carefully about what steps would need to be taken to get it completed. 
·       Set a time by which you will complete each step. 
·       Create and attach a personal reward to be received by you at the completion of each step (can be very small things depending on what you do that makes you feel good. Some examples are eat something healthy, go for a walk, take a nap, call a friend or family member, do something creative etc.)

If the answer is #2, then try these steps:
·       Decide who is the best person / resource that can help you understand and teach you the skills need to complete your _____________. This could be a person or even another resources like the library or Google.
·       Create a list of questions that you need answers to. 
·       Set up a day and time to contact or access the resource
·       Create a personal reward once you have the answers you needed
·       Allow yourself to trust that what you have learned we will be enough. There is no such thing as perfect. We live in an imperfect world and most of the time we had to find a way to be satisfied with “good enough “

If you need more substantial talking through the projects/meetings/tasks you are avoiding and think there can be deeper fears underlying, I'm available to help you process. Feel free to reach out to me for an appointment. You can either email me at or call my office at (310) 614-0323.