Taking Procrastination By The Horns


Putting off some important tasks is something that many people do. However, chronic procrastination may prevent you from fulfilling your potential and attain what you most desire in your life.

Procrastination is a clear obstacle to success and, if you have a home-based business, there are so many “environmental” interferences that you may readily use as good excuses for postponing your tasks.


What is procrastination?

Well you procrastinate when you put off doing something you should be focusing right now and instead you focus on something else that is more pleasant or you feel more comfortable about.

If you find that you are constantly postponing important tasks, it’s about time that you take procrastination by the horns.

James Manktelow and Amy Carlson suggest that you implement the three following steps if you are serious about controlling procrastination.

1. Recognize that you are procrastinating
You probably already know when you are procrastinating. Here are some procrastination indicators you may use:

– Reading emails several time without doing anything about them or instead of focusing of high priority tasks;

– Starting a high priority task and almost immediately go and get a cup of coffee or call a friend;

– Carrying an item on your To Do list forward day after day knowing that it is an important one;

– Always saying ‘Yes’ to other people’s requests that you know are not important for your work or business and filling your day with these instead of focusing on the tasks on your To Do list;

– Waiting for the right mood or the right time to deal with an important matter.

2. Understand why you are procrastinating
The reason why you procrastinate can depend on both you and the task you have to perform and it is important which one is relevant in a particular situation so that you can choose the most appropriate approach to overcome your procrastination.

One reason may be that you can find the task unpleasant and you find reasons for not doing it.  Another reason is that you are disorganized. Organized people don’t procrastinate: they have To Do lists and Schedules where they prioritize their tasks. They know exactly how long it takes to complete a specific task and how to avoid feeling overwhelmed by breaking down a task into “smaller steps”.

A third reason for procrastination is that your decision-making skills are not well developed and you cannot decide what you do. You are afraid of taking the wrong decision and consequently you don’t take action.

3. Implement anti-procrastination strategies

Procrastination is a habit and, as such, it takes time to get rid of it. You need to persistently stop practicing before you can say you’ve finally beat it.

Here are some strategic tips you can apply to stop procrastinating.

If you find your tasks/job unpleasant:

  • Reward yourself. For example, promise yourself a nice ice cream/cake/favourite dish for lunch/dinner after you have completed a task.
  • Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing something.
  • Ask someone else to check on you.

If you are disorganized:

  • Keep a To Do List so you cannot conveniently forget about any task.
  • Prioritize your tasks so that you cannot fool yourself saying that something is not so important if it is on top of your list.
  • Set time-bound goals so that you don’t have time for procrastination.
  • Focus on one task at a time.

If you feel overwhelmed:

  • Break up your taks into smaller steps.
  • Start with simpler and easier taks first because you need to feel that you are achieving things.

Are you a procrastinator or a good time manager? Or have you already taken procrastination by the horns? I’d love to hear other people experiences and anti-procrastination strategies so leave me a comment below and if you have found my tips valuable, please re-tweet this post to your Twitter friends or share it on Facebook.

To your unstopplable success

About Me

11 thoughts on “Taking Procrastination By The Horns”

  1. Paola, fortunately I learned to overcome procrastination a long time ago when I worked in a bank as new business manager.

    As humans, it is very easy for us to enter into a “state of sloth” as I call it – one way to overcome this is to get regular exercise & have a good diet. Believe it or not, these two things will make you feel better & give you more energy.

    Bottom line is – if you want to be successful it takes hard work & you cannot achieve anything other than with hard work. So…there is no room for procrastination in a successful person’s day!

    Stay inspired,


    • Michael, I totally agree with you. As I said in the post, procrastination is an obstacle to success. And as an enterpreneur in this time and age you cannot afford procrastination.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi Paola! Wonderful post, as it is a topic that is all to common for individuals in any industry. The three tips that you shared are very insightful, and I can certainly agree that anyone that actively decides to implement what you have shared here, will have a greater chance at becoming a “recovering procrastinator”. Thanks again for sharing! I will certainly share this will my friends! 🙂

    Life is great!

    • Hi Sye,
      thank you for stopping at my blog and leaving your comment. Sometimes people don’t realize they procrastinate: they always have a good reason for NOT doing or postponing important tasks. But then they complain they never get what they want. Realizing that procrastination may be the reason for not achieving your goals is a first important step towards a life of success.
      And you are right: LIFE IS GREAT!

  3. Greetings Paola!
    A fantastic article … It hits at the “core” of what prevents many of us from attaining greatness, not to mention success in our business, Thank you for your insights.

  4. You are so right, Paola! I have a huge procrastination problem, and I found out that something as simple as writing my goals for the day down in a daily planner has really helped. There are days when I forget to write things down in my planner, and I noticed that there are things that just don’t get done. Simple steps to meet our goals.

    • Hi Steve,
      as everything, beating procrastination takes time and writing your goals for the day is a great way to stay focused.
      As to the things that don’t get done, are they priorities or minor tasks? If they are priorities, try and understand why you keep putting them off (you don’t enjoy doing them, you think they are not for you,….) and based on what you find out, try a suitable strategy to deal with them. Let me know if I can help you. I’ll be very happy to give you a hand!

  5. Hey Paola

    This is a great post, Im just recovering from some serious procrastination caused by my own fear and confusion. I need to get out of my own way.
    Loving the anti-procrastination strategies you have listed here, I know myself I just need to keep moving and doing to get myself out of the slump that procrastination causes for me!
    great insights and information

    • Hi Nat,
      I think the most important thing to do, besides recognizing when you are procrastinating, is to understand why you are doing it. You mentioned fear and confusion. It maybe time to review your goals and priorities so that you can use your energies efficiently and find a way to “get out of your own way” as you said. You know I’m following your blog and I think you are doing wonderful and extremely valuable things there. So I’m sure you’ll find the right solution to overcome your procrastination!

  6. Really amazing tips. So hard to focus with so many distractions. Sometimes I like to reward myself with lunch or dinner like you just suggested after I finish my work, that way I get to focus more on the task at hand and do my best to get it done right away so I can finally get my well deserved meal. 🙂


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