How to Stop Procrastinating: 8 Tips From Experts


There are many important tasks that make you want to groan in annoyance at the thought of completing them. Things like organizing your important documents, deep cleaning your bathroom and decluttering your attic are all responsibilities that you know must be done, but you’d rather do anything else instead. So you do. That’s an example of procrastination. 

We’re all guilty of procrastinating at one point or another. It’s also easier said than done to stop procrastinating. But when something seems impossible or unrealistic, it’s time to turn to the experts. There are many tips that can help you stop procrastinating so that you’re able to cross things off your list in a timely manner without letting high-priority things slip through the cracks.

We’ll talk about what contributes to procrastination before diving into a list of expert-backed tips that will help you stop procrastinating. We’ll also discuss how Beyond BookSmart can improve your Executive Function skills to stop procrastination.


Why we procrastinate

Procrastination means delaying an action despite potential consequences. Procrastinating usually refers to putting a task off to the last minute or even past a set deadline. It’s characterized by consciously putting something off without a valid reason, such as an emergency or lack of resources.

Procrastination is prevalent in every age group, especially students. Up to 86% of high school students procrastinate on their coursework. The percentage is even greater for higher education, with up to 95% of college students being affected by procrastination.

There are a variety of reasons why you may procrastinate on completing a task, such as:

  • More enjoyable options available at the present time
  • Feeling unprepared for the time or effort commitment
  • Not having the focus or energy
  • Feeling overwhelmed by other tasks
  • Concern about competency or perfection
  • Fear of failure
  • Mental health distress or disorders, such as anxiety or depression


A psychologist named Dr. Joseph Ferrari said, “Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator.” Many people confuse procrastination with laziness. But the difference is the reasoning behind not doing a task. People who are labeled as lazy don’t have a desire to do something, so they’ve simply decided not to do it all. Procrastinators understand the importance of a task, and want to complete it, but they’re struggling to get started. 

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8 tips from experts on how to stop procrastinating

For many people, procrastination is a habit that’s hard to break. While it’s human nature to want to put off a boring or intimidating task, it can often become a cycle. If you find that you’re constantly procrastinating, here are some tips from experts that are worth testing out the next time you’re tempted to push off a task for a day or two:

  • Break it up — When a task seems intimidating, it’s easy to procrastinate because of the large time commitment or you’re worried that you’ll do it wrong. By breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps, you can focus on handling each piece of the larger puzzle. For example, instead of trying to declutter the entirety of your closet at one time, start with shoes one day and shirts the next.
  • Switch up your surroundings — Your environment can be a trigger for your procrastination. It can be difficult to stop procrastinating when you’re in a setting that feeds the habit due to distractions. If you’re always in your bedroom when you’re trying to complete a task but struggling to actually get it done, then try mixing it up. Move to a different room or even leave the house. 
  • Find what motivates you — Motivation isn’t always easy to develop because you may not feel like the outcome was worth the effort. Figuring out what keeps you pushing toward the finish line will make it easier to start the race. For some people, the sense of accomplishment is more than enough motivation, while others may be more productive by setting up a reward system for themselves. 
  • Have someone hold you accountable — We can be our own worst enemy sometimes, which is why outside help can be beneficial. Ask a friend, family member, co-worker or significant other to hold you accountable for your efforts. Have them check in on your progress or remind you about tasks. It can be encouraging to have someone in your corner whom you don’t want to let down.
  • Explore time management strategies — Underestimating the amount of time that a task will take or giving yourself too long a break between tasks are common reasons for procrastination. Test out different ways to manage your time, such as blocking your schedule or using the pomodoro technique, which involves working in short intervals using a kitchen timer.
  • Prioritize the worst part — Most tasks require multiple steps that can vary in difficulty, making it easy to procrastinate out of fear of the harder parts. By starting with the most difficult or time-consuming step, you’ll be able to ease into the rest of the task. Getting through the worst part of a task right off the bat will make you see how achievable the rest of the steps are.
  • Make fewer daily decisions — You can talk yourself out of a task when there are too many details to think about. Try simplifying your decision-making process by reducing the number of decisions you have to make on a daily basis. Make the decisions ahead of time or create habits that don’t require making a choice. For example, set specific days that you’re going to exercise or schedule your meals for the week every Sunday.
  • Be kind to yourself — When you recognize that you’re procrastinating, you can be critical toward yourself and start negative thought patterns connected to lack of productivity. Instead of being ashamed when you realize you’re procrastinating, practice self-compassion. When you take away the negative feelings associated with procrastination, and you forgive yourself, it’s easier to improve in the future.


Beyond BookSmart can help you stop procrastinating

If you’re ready to stop your procrastination habit in its tracks, the best course of action is to focus on improving the Executive Function skills that are involved in completing a task. Executive Function skills are life management skills that we all need in order to be effective in planning, initiating and achieving goals at home, in school and in the workplace. When it comes to stopping procrastination, you’ll need to focus on Executive Function skills such as time management and organization. 

If you have chronic procrastination, especially if it’s connected to a learning difference, such as ADHD, or an emotional challenge, like anxiety, then you may be struggling with executive Dysfunction. Executive Dysfunction refers to cognitive, emotional and behavioral difficulties that can interfere with every facet of someone’s life, including their academic, professional and personal lives. 

At Beyond BookSmart, we have Executive Function coaching services to help you develop and improve the skills you need to stop procrastinating and be the productive person you want to be.

Executive Function skills are coachable, trainable and can be applied for success. Whether you have a learning difference, an emotional challenge or you’re just struggling to reach your Executive Function potential, Beyond BookSmart services can help you see what you’re capable of.

Contact our team today for more strategies to beat procrastination for good.

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