How to Defeat Procrastination

Perhaps the largest impediment to accomplishing our projects, tasks and goals is procrastination. It is always easier to put off until tomorrow or next week what we might do today or what we should do today.

Can you conquer procrastination? Yes you can. First you have to determine why you are procrastinating. Second you need to evaluate how important the task is and how much effort you are willing to invest in overcoming the causes of procrastination and accomplishing your task or goal. Finally you need to do it.

There are 7 primary causes of procrastination:

1.    Fear: the first and most common of the psychological impediments is fear. Fear usually only strikes when the task is new, difficult, or dangerous.

2.    Lack of self confidence / Low self esteem: for various reasons arising from your personal experience in life you may suffer from a lack of self confidence, low self esteem or both. Self esteem and self confidence is not the same thing. They are related. Self esteem is a person’s sense of self worth.

3.    Depression / Mental Illness: various mental illnesses and clinical depression can also cause procrastination.  In most instances mental illness and chronic or serious clinical depression require professional intervention to resolve.

4.    It is no fun—Let’s face it, sometimes we procrastinate simply because the task ahead of us is no fun.

5.    The jobs that never end—some jobs, by their very nature, never end and never reach any sense of completion.

6.    Outside of comfort zone—another reason people procrastinate is because the task before them is outside their comfort zone. It may be outside their area of expertise, outside their area of interest or outside their area of competence.

7.    It is too big!—The task or project is simply too big, too complex, too costly or too difficult for you to do.


1.    THE SOLUTION TO FEAR – the solution to fear is always the same, it is simple, terrifyingly simple actually, but it is not easy. You conquer fear by confronting it. This does not mean that if you are afraid of snakes you climb directly into a pit of vipers and lie down amongst them for an hour or so. It means you gradually desensitize yourself from the fear.
There are three steps to desensitizing yourself to fear: First, identify any way to simplify the problem or reduce the fear factor; second, use visualization techniques to banish the image of fear; and third, rehearse.

2.    THE SOLUTION TO LOW SELF CONFIDENCE – a lack of self confidence is really a fear of failure. In many ways the most effective cure for low self confidence is success. Build small successes first, the ones you know you can do. Once you have done the small things well, build up to bigger ones, and gradually you will develop the level of self confidence you need to tackle the harder and bigger projects.

3.    THE SOLUTION TO JOBS THAT ARE NOT FUN –if we have to do them some time it is best to get them done now, because rarely is a no-fun job easier or more fun if you wait. It is usually harder, the grease is dried on, there is less time to do the job, you feel more tired, etc. 

Second, reward yourself. You will be surprised that this does work. 

4.    THE SOLUTION TO THE JOB THAT NEVER ENDS… First, find any variation, any fun, any amusement you can in what you do. 

Second, if you cannot make the job fun, make it as efficient and as quick as you can. Devise ways to be more efficient at the task. If possible purchase tools and machines to simplify your task. 

Third, if you cannot have fun nor make it more efficient, then consider incidental benefits. 

5.    THE SOLUTION TO BEING OUTSIDE OUR COMFORT ZONE—You can move into our comfort zone with practice. Remember how it felt the first time you rode a bicycle, drove a stick shift, tied a tie, played a musical instrument – you were all thumbs, you were out of your comfort zone. Then, after practice and practice you developed comfort – you brought the new task or challenge within your comfort zone and another reason to procrastinate is gone.

6.    THE SOLUTION TO THE JOB THAT IS TOO BIG! — Whether it is cleaning out a horrendous cluttered garage or managing a multi-phase business project the key is to break it down. Anyone can accomplish each small step – and once each small step is done the project is done. In essence you did not have to tackle a large project – you simply and easily tackled many small steps.

Procrastination is your mind’s way of avoiding that which you do not want to do or you do not see purpose or reward in doing. Fool your mind, provide the purpose or the reward, or distract your mind through entertainment, or if you have a mind to, devote your effort to the task at hand as a form of meditation in work.

Wishing you Success and Prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.