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We all have bad habits we could live without and procrastination is one of the worst. We should always be striving to improve ourselves. Let’s start by looking at procrastination from a few different angles, in order to learn different ways to get out of this bad habit. This small but bad habit seems insignificant at a distance. Let’s take a closer look.

First of all, what is procrastination? According to Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries, in fact Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe such behavior. Akrasia. The state of acting against your better judgment is Akrasia, when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. You could say that procrastination is Akrasia or lack of self-control. The act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks is Procrastination. Weather you refer to it as Akrasia or Procrastination, it is the force that prevents you from following through.

Only recently have research psychologists become interested in the topic of procrastination as an area of investigation. According to Joseph R Ferrari, compulsively failing to complete intended tasks to the point of experiencing anxiety may be viewed as pathological. To be indecisive, decisional procrastination, avoids confrontation and therefore may be a way of coping with conflicts. The tendency to postpone most everyday tasks is Behavioral procrastination and may stem from viewing one’s personal projects with extreme pessimism or even extreme optimism. According to Ferrari Decisional and Behavioral procrastination have been linked to several negative characteristics such as low self-confidence, high trait anxiety, depression, neurosis, forgetfulness, disorganization, non-competitiveness, and lack of energy. This is all surprising, I thought procrastination was innocent and just meant putting something off, but further research tells me there’s more to it.

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Definitions are great and all but why do we procrastinate? What causes us to avoid the things we know we should do? What goes on in the brain? Well, according to, Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “Time inconsistency”. Time inconsistency is the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards at a higher level than future rewards. This can be better understood by imagining two selves, the present self and the future self. You are actually making plans for your future self when you set goals, while the future self can set goals only the present self can take action. When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your future self, now you are in the present moment, your brain is thinking about the present self. The brain values long term benefits when they are in the future but when it comes to the present moment, it values immediate gratification. There is actually brain science behind all of this.

We find ourselves procrastinating too often because we don’t know where to start. We’re not sure what the first step is so we put off getting started. Psychology today says this kind of procrastination is less of an avoidance of the task and more an avoidance of negative emotion. No one wants to feel clueless or incompetent, so we turn our attention to other tasks like cleaning the bathroom. This is Productive procrastination, when we put off the task at hand by doing other tasks. At least cleaning the bathroom or finding a dress online gives us a sense of accomplishment.

The solution seems so simple, “Just get it done”. But in fact, its way more complicated, procrastination is in our genes. Psychology today says procrastination runs in families and is linked on the genetic level to impulsivity. This creates a catch all of difficulty regulating our own behavior and the journal, Psychological Science says procrastination is a life-long trait. Humans are wired to consider the needs of the present more strongly than that of the future. What can we do about this?

Acknowledge that it’s normal to feel stupid or overwhelmed when you’re just starting out, especially if you’ve never done this task before. Psychology today recommends building confusion into the task, such as adding “Screaming into the pillow” to the To-Do list. Plan for messing up as part of the project, it only feels lousy if you think it shouldn’t be happening. Some people need to spitball with a friend or an outside party to help the think, that’s okay too. This is key, it helps knowing messing up is allowed, the intimidation is as good as gone.

As put it, we all procrastinate from time to time, sometimes it’s about avoiding the mundane things but we often also put off the bigger things. Things that require more time and commitment and put us at risk of failing or emotional damage. Such as looking for a new job or pursuing an aspiration we have held for a long time. People come up with all kinds of creative reasons why now isn’t the right time. “Too busy, too broke, too stressed, too risky, too uncertain, too inexperienced, too old, too young, too disruptive” ( On a rare occasion those reasons are valid but more often than not they are excuses. Excuses for not doing the real work and experiencing the emotional discomfort that comes along with making meaningful changes in our lives. At the core of that discomfort is fear and left unchecked those fears can take control and even leave us stuck in the present situation. Our bad habit of procrastination can exact a toll on us, on our finances, career, relationships, and even our health. As puts it, by putting off till tomorrow what can be done today we inadvertently sell out our happiness and compromise our future.

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Let’s also note that while options are a good thing, having too many makes it harder to make the right choice. “This is the paradox of choice”. ( It’s also worth knowing that when we place constraints on ourselves it makes it easier to get something done. For example, if you’re trying to exercise put a limit on yourself, you’re not allowed to exercise for more than five minutes. Or If you want to eat more vegetables limit yourself to one type of vegetable. These ideas are all really good.

Here are some other interesting ideas. Make the rewards for getting started more immediate. This can be combined with an interesting technique known as Temptation Bundling. Temptation bundling is when you combine the chore or the daunting task with a reward, getting the reward only if you do the task. For example, only listen to podcasts you love while exercising or only get a pedicure while you’re processing overdue work emails. This way you get the task done and you get something you enjoy. You could also make the consequences of avoiding your task more immediate, for example, schedule working out with a friend at 7 a.m., that way the if you skip the consequences are more severe. (

At a distance, procrastination seems small, almost as if it doesn’t matter. But upon closer examination procrastination can have a ripple effect on us and can come on quickly if we don’t acknowledge it.

There seem to be a few good solutions to consider but since we are all so different not everyone will be effective using the same solution. I Purpose we should try different options until we try one that works for us specifically. Let’s consider what kind of procrastinator we are and what solution will work for us. Unfortunately, this will have to be done on a trial and error basis.

Clear, James. “How to eliminate Procrastination (the surprising strategy one man used)”. Web. Accessed 14 September 2019

James clear is an Entrepreneur, author, and photographer in 25 countries. is the home of his writing and work. This Article is from James clear an Entrepreneur who studies and writes about his work, so in a way he is a scholar. This is reliable.

Clear, James “Procrastination: A scientific guide on how to stop procrastinating” Web. Accessed 14 September 2019.

James clear is an Entrepreneur, author, and photographer in 25 countries. is the home of his writing and work. This Article is from James clear an Entrepreneur who studies and writes about his work, so in a way he is a scholar. This is reliable.

Ferrari, Joseph. “Compulsive procrastination: Some self-reported characteristics”. Psychological reports 68.2 (1991): 455-458. Web, Accessed 8 September 2019

This is an article of a study on procrastination studied by scholars. This is from Google Scholar so it is reliable.

Hendrickson, Hellen. “5 ways to finally stop procrastinating”. Psychology Today. Sussex Publisher LLC. 15 August 2018. Web, 8 September 2019

This article is an example of procrastination being in our genes and tells a little about how we as humans are wired. This is from Psychology, so I assume today it is reliable.

Warrell, Margie. “Why you procrastinate, and how to stop it. Now.”. Forbes. Media Forbes LLC. 25 March 2013. Web. Accessed 17 September 2019

This is an article about procrastination and how the underlying problem is sometimes fear. This article is from Forbes, so it is reliable.