You Can’t Beat Procrastination Without Doing This

Written by on March 17, 2021 in Personal Accountability, Self-Awareness

Everyone is guilty of procrastination from time to time, it only turns into a problem when the delays and excuses become chronic and we end up repeatedly wasting hours and days before getting around to taking action.

Our tendency is to assume that the cure for procrastination is to become more self-disciplined.

So we buy a better planner, break tasks down into ever smaller steps, and try to focus on the task at hand.

These steps may work short-term, but this approach fails to take into account that there are many reasons for procrastination, and surprisingly few can be attributed to laziness or lack of organization.

Procrastination is a Symptom Not the Disease

Procrastination is ultimately about avoidance so if you find yourself repeatedly putting tasks off there is nearly always something else going on.

The following list will help you consider various circumstances and behaviors that have been shown to result in procrastination and avoidance.

A few of these relate to larger issues such as lack of confidence, and while it’s not realistic to address each in detail here, becoming aware of them will highlight areas that you may want to explore further.

Motivated by a Deadline

Some people intentionally wait to begin a task until the last minute because they’ve convinced themselves they work best under pressure.

A task performed under pressure rarely turns out to be our best work, and over time, the added stress can create potential health problems.

If you honestly feel you need the pressure of a deadline, try creating your own artificial deadline(s).

Already Overextended

Feeling overwhelmed can stall even the most ambitious among us, but admitting you’re overextended is just the first step. The real issue to tackle is WHY you’re overextended, and that almost always comes down to one thing.

You can’t say ‘no.’ 

The long-term solution is to get serious about establishing priorities and building healthy boundaries but to ease the pressure take some time to evaluate all of your commitments and then go down the list and identify what you can reschedule, delegate, or omit. 

Inability to Prioritize

Sometimes the real question is not where something belongs on your task list, but whether it belongs there at all.

Prioritizing is about focusing on the things that matter most to you, but to do that you have to be clear about what those things (and people) are and accept that other things may not get done. 


It is important to understand that perfectionism isn’t about having high standards, it’s about control and, as with each of these issues, becoming more aware of your patterns puts you in a better position to alter them.

Taking the time to see the big picture, identifying areas where your perfectionism is holding you back, and learning to recognize the point of diminishing returns will help you to begin moving in the right direction.  

Sometimes just getting a thing done is a worthy goal.

When we are scared of being judged we look for every excuse to procrastinate.

~Erica Jong

You Simply Hate Doing It

Do you just HATE DOING THIS TASK? Does it rate up there with painful dental visits or scrubbing the toilet?

Is there any way to make it more enjoyable or can you delegate or remove it from your list altogether?

If not, try to find some redeeming purpose for overcoming your reluctance.

If all else fails think of some small way to reward yourself once you’ve completed the dreaded task, and then stop torturing yourself.

Difficulty Making Decisions

Struggling to make decisions can easily cause “brain freeze” preventing you from moving forward … and looks an awful lot like procrastination.

The underlying problem here is very often good old fear – fear of making a mistake, of failure, of judgment, or pissing someone off.

Becoming an effective decision-maker is like building muscle, it just takes time and consistency. The more decisions you make, the more self-confidence you will gain.


Yes, sometimes it really does just come down to this. There are two types of laziness.

  1. A narcissistic behavior pattern as basic as you want to do only what you want when you want to do it.
  2. You just can’t seem to get started because you lack energy, direction, and enthusiasm for life.

If it’s the first behavior then obviously on some level there is some form of reward or personal satisfaction and the only way that will change is if you want it to or you’re forced by circumstances to change.

But if it’s a lack of energy or feeling somehow lost in life, the first thing I’d recommend is seeing a physician to eliminate possible health issues.

Then try creating a few meaningful but short-term goals to focus on, and consider consulting a life coach.

The Takeaway

The good news is that procrastinators are made not born so once you’ve identified the root causes behind your avoidance tendencies, the simplest and most effective solution to moving forward is to take the first step.

Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in analysis, that’s just another form of procrastination.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach, and founder of Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies, and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living Start Here.

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