Overcoming Procrastination

~”Do what you like least first.”

hands writing

Do I procrastinate? Why yes I do and I must say, I do it very well.  Here is a great example. So, my daughter decided that she was no longer interested in playing the clarinet at the end of last year.  I did not push the issue.  I was relieved actually.  That meant that I didn’t have to spend $30 a month on the rental and could put the money towards something she enjoyed more.  It also meant not having to hear her complain about band. So, the clarinet sat in the foyer for three months, accumulating rental fees.  My reason for not returning it?  I didn’t want to drive to the music store.  It was not near my home and I had told myself that I didn’t want to deal with the traffic in that area. Well, one Saturday afternoon, I decided that this was getting to be a bit much.  So, I stopped by the music store, returned the instrument in less than five minutes and was on my way.  Do you know how relieved I was afterwards?  Incredibly relieved and feeling quite accomplished. Yet, I questioned myself and my reasoning for waiting to return the instrument. Three months and one hundred dollars later, I had finally completed the task.  Can you relate?

It can be difficult to manage our lives when we have many other demands that require our attention.  Trust me.  I get it.  When the to-do list keeps getting longer and longer, it can seem like the easiest option is to avoid tackling the tasks altogether. The responsibilities that we are committed to within our personal, work, and social lives can make it challenging to successfully complete tasks when we are not managing our time appropriately or procrastinating.

Individuals that procrastinate are more likely to have health related symptoms, more stress, and more visits to health care professionals than non-procrastinators.

What are some strategies for overcoming procrastination?  Here are a few:

  • Do what you like least first
  • Build time into your schedule for interruptions, unforeseen problems, and unexpected events
  • Establish ground rules for meeting your own needs
  • Learn to “Just Do It

I am still working on the skill of avoiding procrastination.  One thing I have started to do is write lists on post-it notes and work on one or two items per day/week (depending on the priority).  For me, the “Just do it” strategy is what I have implemented the most.  Of these strategies listed above, which one do you feel you will be able to implement in the near future to decrease your stress?  What are some strategies for avoiding procrastination that have worked for you in the past?

Source: Hales, D. (2010). Invitation to Health: Brief.  Belmont, CA, Cengage-Wadsworth.


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