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The Battle of Procrastination

Updated: Apr 13

“Ugh! I have so much to do between laundry, work tasks, filling out that application, errands… where do I even begin?!”

young boy on his smartphone with a laptop in his bedroom doing homework

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we have too much on our ‘to-do’ list that we put off. This leads to a lack of motivation, fear of what could happen, or productivity guilt… none of which anyone enjoys feeling.

Procrastination is one of the greatest stress inducers. Sometimes I hear people say, “I work best under pressure” or “Because I can get work done last-minute it proves procrastination doesn’t hurt.” Can you relate? My previous college student self is guilty of this. I used to call myself a “PRO-procrastinator” like it was a badge of honor. It was not until I realized that even if I could get something done, why would I want to stress my way through it? Procrastination is not your friend and it is not a strength. No! Low energy and stress are not what you want from a friendship.

What does help is learning skills to overcome stress and avoid procrastination. Once I developed better organizational skills, I was able to complete tasks in a timely manner without stressing about it. Woo!

As a therapist, I assist clients in developing steps that help reduce their stress and anxieties. Executive Function Coaching is also a great area to practice organization skills on a consistent basis while having a Coach to help hold you accountable.

Here are 7 steps to help you win the battle against procrastination:

  1. Forgive Yourself for Procrastinating Sometimes our guilt can hold us back. Allow yourself a fresh start!

  2. Shift Your Identity If you believe that you are lazy, I encourage you to reflect on ways you can improve yourself. Remember, you become what you think.

  3. Be Clear with Your Needs and Wants Clarity is an important aspect of defeating procrastination. It is easy to get lost if we do not know where we are going.

  4. Manage Your Energy Get enough sleep, take necessary breaks, and do the most important task when you have the most energy. This allows you to not run out of motivational fuel so quickly.

  5. Break Down Your Tasks Focus on smaller goals that get you to your biggest goal. My mentor once told me, “Nothing great is built overnight.” Keeping your focus one task at a time will allow you to be less overwhelmed and more productive.

  6. Practice Momentum into Productivity You can start by making a short list of 3-5 tasks to complete, set a timer for desired completion time, and take 5-10 minute breaks in between. Completing small assignments and setting deadlines will support the idea of you finishing. Practicing your commitment to this will naturally develop into a healthy habit.

  7. Partner With a Friend or Mentor Find someone who can relate and help keep you on track. Accountability is a great way of self-care.

Overcoming procrastination is possible, but it takes practice and commitment. Celebrate every win along the way and reward yourself for tasks completed. I believe you can do it!

Alana Tristan is supervised by Roxanne Deams, LPC-S.

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