Beat the procrastinator in you

Posted by on Nov 8, 2014



Procrastination is one of those habits that affect almost everyone to some degree or another. When we procrastinate we end up beating ourselves up over our lack of productivity and start chucking all that self doubt and negative internal chatter at ourselves like “I’m useless, I’m lazy, can’t do anything right”.

Finding out why you are procrastinating and what is your trigger will really help you beat the repeating patterns of self-talk and non-activity.


So my first Useful Tip is:

  1. 1.    Write down specifically what makes you procrastinate? 

Are you worried that you will fail, make a mistake and make a fool of yourself so you end up not doing it?  Maybe your trigger is performance anxiety and because of this you avoid a specific situation where others are watching you, maybe a presentation, social gathering, meeting etc.


Are feeling too overwhelmed by the task.  It feels like too big a mountain to climb and you don’t know where to start?


Or you’re simply worried about the outcome of a task or conversation you need to have for fear of the fall out or reaction or excess work it will cause?


Some people procrastinate because they are frightened of being successful, because it carries responsibility and always having to prove themselves to stay on top.


Writing it down and getting it really clear in your mind what you procrastinate about will really help to start changing those negative habits.


Really watch yourself closely and see what you do or what you DON’T do and ask yourself “what’s that all about then, why am I really avoiding this”? Write down your thoughts and feelings and see what you discover.


Be really honest with yourself.


A book I share will all my clients is “Write it down, make it happen.” By Henriette Anne Klauser.  It’s a great book for helping you to write down what you want and then setting your intensions.


  1. 2.    Make a list     

Yes, make a list, really simple but it works and enables you to get all that stuff out of your head and on to paper.  And just that process of writing can be cathartic and make you feel you’re actually getting somewhere.


As you do each task just tick it off the list.


The nice thing about a list is no matter how small the tasks may be on the list, once you start ticking each task off as its done you will already start to feel a sense of achievement. This will motivate and energise you to keep going.



  1. 3.    Don’t always start at the beginning

If you have a letter or a presentation to write and you find you just can’t get started, well start in the middle.  If we stress over the opening few lines and find we have writers block then this can act as a trigger to encourage even more writers block.


The best way to handle it is to start at a place where you’re feeling more inspired.  Maybe doing bullet points or something you’ve been mulling over in your head.  Get that down on paper first and you’ll probably find that the rest will follow a lot easier.


  1. 4.    Prioritise things to do on your list

So for instance if you have a deadline to get your car tax paid or a course to apply for on line then get that out the way first.  Put those higher up on your list so that the last one will be the least important or urgent.


  1. 5.    Get organised

Get yourself a calendar or if you have a diary then better still.  Look at your list and try to work out approximately how long a task will take and book in a time slot in your diary to work on it.  If it’s a large task then maybe allocate a few time slots to cover it.


6.  Break tasks down

It’s always a good idea to break down the larger tasks into smaller bits on your list so the whole thing doesn’t seem quite so daunting. Break the larger tasks down into smaller manageable chunks.  Psychologically this will make the whole task look a lot easier and it wont feel like it’s such a big mountain to climb.


7.  Turn social networking off

An enemy to any self proclaimed procrastinator is social networking sites, you’re mobile and email in box.  It’s very easy to use these as an excuse to delay doing your task.


These things have become very important in our lives and it’s the way forward but from time to time we need to switch off all distractions for a short time to be able to focus.


  1. 8.    Allow extra tine

When you’re slotting your tasks into your diary or onto your calendar always allow for extra time.  So for example if you think a task will take an hour give yourself an hour and 15 minutes.  If you finish early then you’ll feel energised which is always a good thing.


If the time you allocated is still not enough then don’t stress over it you just schedule another time slot till it’s complete.


  1. 9.    Minimize the torture

If the thought of doing a task bores the pants off you or you just hate doing it, then allocate a shorter time to do it so the pain is over quickly.  Otherwise you can feel disheartened and lacking in enthusiasm if the task ahead seems long and laborious. An easy way to procrastinate is spending too much time doing something you find incredibly hard and boring.


10.  And finally…

Change your attitude! How you think can have a big impact on how you feel.  Changing your mood can change your mind.


Not starting a task or a project because you feel it’s too hard, have a fear of failure or even fear of success can make you feel bad, fatigued and lacking in get up and go.  Think about your internal dialogue to yourself and talk yourself up.  Really listen to what you’re saying. If deep down you really do want to be a success and really want to tackle a project, then imagine how great you will feel once you have completed your task.


Maybe you need to work on confidence building or coping with anxieties especially if your task relates to big projects that overwhelm and scare you.


And remember not everything needs to be completed if you absolutely hate it and it’s not vital to the running of your life.


If you need help getting your life organised or want to have more confidence then I ‘m always here to help. 


Give me a call Carolyne Ash-Brazier at

 The Really Useful Life Coach

on 0208 546 8460 or email me at