How to stop procrastination

‘After all is said and done, more is said than done.’

Let’s imagine that you are trying to understand what is happening in your life right now and you want to move out from a place of frustration and even pain, to a place of calm, clarity and peace, so you can come up with a strategy.

You want to be happy and productive but it seems like you self sabotage yourself and the dream you have seems to be impossible to achieve in your state of mind.

If this resonates with you – I will give you a few tips to turn that dream into reality. It all starts with mindset!

To begin your journey you want first to learn how to move your own mind from being stuck, to a position where you can truly plan your present and formulate your future, without being hindered by your past.

Let’s talk about a couple of rules that our mind follows, and then you can ask yourself if something that is happening in your life is connected to a natural pattern. And of course, we will talk about how to break that pattern.

My teacher Marisa Peer has studied the mind for 30 years and is known for saying in a Ted X Talk, ‘Your mind works to move you from pain to pleasure.’ The second rule of the mind she mentions is, ‘The mind cannot hold conflicting beliefs or thoughts – they cancel each other out.’

(You can find Marisa Peer’s rules of the mind listed on

Let me give you an example of how these rules make things go wrong for many of us almost every day. You have a task to do that you don’t particularly like, for example tidying up a room, doing your end-of-the-year accounts, sorting out a pile of bills – – or it could even be a long term goal. Maybe you are thinking of starting exercising in the local gym or you want to reorganise the way you cook so you can eat more nutritious meals.

There are 4 things that are happening here: 

1) You are perfectly aware that you must do the task because there is a benefit in the end and a loss if you don’t take care of it.

2) Deep down you don’t feel like taking action, because you might see it as a waste of time, or it is unpleasant and it requires time and energy you’d rather devote to something else. Your trigger is stress.

3) Your mind is balancing two opposite beliefs and thus they cancel one another. The result is that you don’t take action, and you get an immediate little reward, the stress relief. But in the end you know you will have more stress, it’s just a matter of time.

4) The long term result is that you might have to rush to complete your task when the pain of leaving it undone is greater than the pain of doing it in the first place.

Therefore, although tidying up your invoices and giving your financial documents to your accountant feels seriously boring, long, and painful, you envision that the tax office will fine you and the way you avoid stress will cause you to be even more stressed up. Your mind will choose the lesser of the two pains, and you will eventually take care of it, but you will be running, your stress levels will be high, the cortisol levels will affect your sleep patterns and your mood, and the list goes on. Meanwhile, on normal days, instead of doing your task, you get distracted. Maybe you’rather watch a video about a cute kitten, to lessen up this huge amount of stress that is hanging over your head. Or you play a game. But you are pushing aside the task and the correlated stress.

Does this sound familiar? I know it does for many people, and this is why we see so much procrastination.

We procrastinate because we know we must do something but we can’t bring ourselves to do it. And why does this happen? Because our mind will do anything to move us from pain to pleasure. Even creating headaches, stomach aches and depression, not to mention panic attacks!

Now – look back for just a minute at how many important things are usually left undone in an office, in a marriage, or in a degree course. In some cases, procrastination has caused a business to fail, a relationship to break down, or someone’s health to be chronically affected.

Procrastination is a bad habit and a form of stress relief.

And the good news is that you can break this habit.

  • First, recognise that you are stressed out about something.
  • Second, when you catch yourself being distracted from the task you supposed to do, stop right away and snap off from the subconscious programming that is pulling you away from stress and pain. Become aware! Be the boss of yourself!
  • Get up and start doing something active, and useful – even better, get started with the very task you were supposed to do it. Tell yourself that you can easily work on it for 5 minutes. Do as much as you can in these five minutes! Feel the accomplishment! Raise your vibrations!
    Research shows that most people who got started, reach the end line. This is because you start feeling more energised as soon as you get moving again. Even your thoughts become more positive one you get going.

The secret is that if you wait to do something until you feel like doing it, you might never get started! This principle is so invaluable to help find the spark in your relationship too! Don’t wait until you are ‘in the mood’ before you spend some time with your other half, that moment might ever come! Right?

Some of you will say, ‘That’s great, but there is too much to do and I feel overwhelmed.’

I hear you! I know this sound daunting.

If it seems impossible to even get started there are 7 things you can do to make your dream become reality at your own terms! Let’s imagine that you must prepare that report or tidy up a specific area by next month. (Yes – I like decluttering!) Let’s break this down:

  • Organise how you will do this. Get your calendar out and mark when you will work on it. Sort of priorities.
  • Chunk down your final goal into small and easier tasks. Can you write one page every day? Can you work on one corner of a room every day? Make it simple and doable.
  • Create a schedule. And stick to it. Write down that you will work on the first two pages or areas on Monday, the next two pages on Tuesday and so on.
  • Set a specific timeframe for each task. Don’t say, ‘I want to eat healthily some day. Someday is not a day of the week. It doesn’t work like that. And it never will. Think in terms of ‘I will weigh 7 kg less by September’, ‘I will write 3 chapters of my book by next Saturday.’
  • Get rid of distractions. Silence your mobile devices, get away from movies and TV, focus on what you are doing. Be present! You will be surprised at how productive one becomes when the social media are turned off.
  • Get the heaviest duties done first. You will get a bigger sense of accomplishment to reward you and you will not drag the task forever.
  • Tell others you are busy with that task, so they won’t ask you to do anything else. If it’s in your calendar that you will find time to cuddle up with your partner, or sort out the studio, do not allow others to interrupt you by adding their own goals over yours. Unless there is a true emergency of course.

Once you get into the new habit of NOT procrastinating, you will feel a lot better about yourself and you will give a lot more pleasure to your mind. You will see yourself as an achiever who gets things done.

And what’s more important than that when you are rebuilding your life?

So…. go get that calendar out today! Grab a pen and write down what you want to accomplish, some things that must be tackled now, today. Go and write that thank you card to make someone feel special! Finish that report! Get that room sorted out and those bills out of the way.

Any emotional clutter will evaporate from your mind as you press forward with clarity. Your stress level will decrease.

Thank you so much for following me to the end! I hope that my tips will help you to be happier and more productive. In the next article we will talk about how the fear of failure affects all we do, even creating anxiety, depression and fear of commitment.

Be sure to check my business website for quick tips and articles!

Spoiler alert: there is a Podcast in the making! Watch this space for more updates!