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How to Break the Habit of Procrastination

by Roveen Anyango
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We all struggle with procrastination and often, it’s not because we are lazy, but because of several factors. Perhaps you think you might not do a good job, or perhaps because you feel the task is too big.

Psychologists call this negative reinforcement. Negative is because the reward comes from not going through the experience and reinforcement because the relief you feel from not doing the task will more likely make you repeat the procrastination in future.

Now, there is no silver bullet to beating procrastination, but there are ways to reduce the chances of procrastination.

Break down tasks into smaller manageable pieces

A task can feel daunting simply because of the amount of work that you have to do. This creates a situation where you begin to doubt your ability to do it and how you will go about doing it.

Therefore, when you encounter a large task, the first thing you need to do is to make a plan for how you will go about it. Break down the task into smaller, clearly defined mini-tasks. This reduces the overwhelming feeling that leads to procrastination.

Make space

Sometimes, we will often be afraid of doing a task because we don’t know where and how to place it in our daily schedule.

So, if you have been procrastinating on things you need to do, how about you set aside a specific time to do it, perhaps a time when you work best. If you work best in the mornings, then set the time for the task in the morning. If it’s evening, the same.

Aim to complete the task during that time.

Just start

So you feel as though you don’t know how to begin. You overthink the best way to begin and come up short – and that is precisely why you are procrastinating.

When you begin to try and find the best possible way to start, you will never get started because you will feel that each start is not good enough.

Instead, once you have laid out a time to start, jump right in and figure out as you go on. That way, you get your brain working to solve the problem as you work on it, rather than passively from the side, which is great fodder for procrastination.

Build accountability

If you want external push to get a task done, then tell at least one person about your plan to complete the task. That way, you get to avoid the discomfort of the person asking you why you haven’t done the task and you don’t have a good reason why.

You can also be accountable to yourself by writing down the plans and checking them off as you complete them.

Reward yourself

Motivate yourself to complete that goal by giving yourself a small reward after completion. The feeling of satisfaction when we complete a task will often be rewarding, and you can add to it by giving yourself a small reward after each completed task.

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