Procrastination Nation - how to overcome procrastination

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Many of us start a big project with the best intentions in mind, whether that's getting round to building that flat-pack furniture you've been putting off or sitting down to revise for your upcoming exams. But why do we find it so hard sometimes to stay on track and actually get the task finished? In other words, why do we procrastinate?

But what exactly is procrastination? And how do we know when we're doing it? If you find yourself putting off larger and more important tasks in order to simply do things that have no benefit to the finished product, then you have become a victim of procrastination. You've delayed or stalled a project that you might not be enjoying as much as watching TV or scrawling through various social media outlets. Updating your status as 'working hard on my coursework!' doesn't add to your actual word count.

Why do we procrastinate? Some people do it for the rush of leaving things until the last minute, relishing the level of pressure that they experience, whilst many people simply cannot make a decision, so procrastinate until someone else does. Others, who struggle with the task at hand, would rather have people believe they simply don't try than their lack of aptitude.

Procrastination affects most people at some point during their lives, in fact, 20% of the population procrastinate. So we've chosen some of the best tips on how to beat it. If you procrastinate at all today, make sure you do so by reading this article!


Before you do anything during your day, make sure you've got everything written down that you hope to achieve. Start with the more important tasks, no matter how big or small, whether it's calling the electricity board (a five-minute job, but vital) or finishing your 4000-word essay, due in at the end of the week (a much lengthier task).

Add smaller, less important tasks to the end of the list, which need to be done, but can wait. This way, if you do decide to procrastinate, you have a number of items on your list which you can complete and you can still be productive.


If you don't acknowledge when you're delaying a project, then you'll never realise you're procrastinating. If you find yourself sitting down to start your work and you suddenly remember you haven't checked your emails or fed the cat, then you are procrastinating. These other tasks can hold off until you've completed a large chunk of the job at hand. Some researchers have stated that procrastination has quadrupled in the last 30 years, whether this is down to the increase in technology, social media, or simply a lack of self-control and discipline.


Try and see why a certain task is being put on the back-burner or why you constantly get to the end of the day without anything being achieved. If there's something on your to-do list that fills you with dread, then bite the bullet and get it out of the way. Break it down into smaller tasks, so then the whole project seems much more manageable. A 4000-word essay can be broken down into four 1000-word sections, which you can complete over a number of days.


Once you've got yourself organised and have your tasks for the day laid out, make sure you have something else to work towards other than the end goal of getting the job completed. Give yourself a larger reward for completing more important task. This could be anything from a slice of cake or an hour's free time to watch TV. Then treat yourself to smaller rewards for those tasks that aren't quite as important.


If you do struggle with procrastination, then why not start a course or hobby which you really enjoy? This will give you a good break from your other, less interesting tasks, but still means you're doing something productive. The Distance Learning Centre has a range of great courses that will help you enjoy your to-do list a bit more. If you find yourself procrastinating in your job, then maybe it's time for a change. We have a great choice of courses for you to change your career direction.