5 Strategies You Can Use (Later) to Finally Overcome Your Procrastination

published Jun 19, 2019
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Credit: Samara Vise

We’ve all been there. It’s pushing dinnertime and you’ve barely touched the work assignment that’s due by end-of-day.

Fret not, my fellow procrastinators, there’s hope to be had. We called on Dr. Robert Schachter, Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of Procrastination Centers of America for advice on what to do. Read ahead for five strategies he shared to help you work through your future procrastination challenges.

1. When you have something to do, you have to decide to do it

“Every time you procrastinate, you are making a decision,” Schachter says. “Talk back to the voice that tells you to do something later and remind yourself that it’s your choice.”

2. Be prepared

Before you find yourself in another procrastination-related bind, Schachter suggests making a game plan ahead of time. “Dr. David Burns recommends taking a sheet of paper, drawing a vertical line down the center, and labeling the left column ‘problem’ and the right one ‘solution’,” he explains. “Now anticipate every potential way you might stop yourself from completing a task in the future, and then write out a solution to that problem so you’re better prepared for it.”

3. Break a task down to its smallest steps

“Think of your end goal,” Schachter says, “and then ask yourself, ‘what is the first thing I have to do to make that happen?’ Or as Dr. Burns says, ‘Break your task into the smallest possible steps and start by taking the first one.'”

4. Hold yourself accountable

“Once you determine you need to complete a task,” Schachter says, “choose a specific date and time when you will do it. Mark it on your calendar, tack it to your refrigerator, and hold yourself responsible for getting it done.”

5. Don’t wait for the “right” time

Schachter says the trouble with waiting for the right time to do something is that it might not ever come. “Here’s another gem from Dr. Burns: ‘You can’t always wait until you are in the mood to do something,'” he says, ‘”you just have to start.'”

What strategies do you use to overcome procrastination? Tell us in the comments!