5 Ways to Procrastinate Successfully

procrastinate successfullyThere are many reasons we don’t do what we intend. What is yours, and is it “procrastination” or something else?

Here is: A hard line on a valueless skill.

There is a little barb, a sting, attached to the word “procrastinate” that is not necessarily there when you say “delay”, “postpone” or “take a raincheck.”

What makes it sting?

“Procrastination” has an element of guilt -or at least culpability – because it is the intentional putting off or deferring of something that ought to be done.

There it is: the heart of the sting is the phrase: OUGHT TO.

So, how do you know if it is really procrastination?

  1. You are choosing to NOT do something


  1. You have a desire, need or obligation to do it
    (ask yourself if you feel an ‘ought’, ‘should’, ‘need to’ attached
    to what you are avoiding doing)

How do you stop the procrastination?

I have thought long and hard about this. The bottom line, after you go through all the irritating mind-chatter, is one of 2 things:

  1. Do it. Nike-style: just do it. Begin!
  2. Decide not to do it. Take it of your list.

So, if it is that simple, why does procrastination remain such a huge problem for so many people?

For all you procrastinators out there, that are looking for some kind of validation, or to resonate with some valid sounding excuse, I have put together a short list of the top “mind tricks” we employ to stay uncomfortably procrastinating.

If you are looking for a gentle prod, you might have to wait for a different posting. Here I am taking the shotgun approach:

  1. Fear. We tell ourselves we fear failure – ridicule and embarrassment are favorites here, but you can also justify procrastination by focusing on possible losses. Fearing success affords you tension-creators that range from abandonment to overwhelm.
  1. Resisting pressure. Telling ourselves that we don’t like being told what to do, or that we don’t like doing something allows us to relish in a sense of (false) independence. We get to enjoy the drama of an unfair world or unjust people.
  1. Busyness. We can feel so important and valuable if we are so busy we cannot find time to do the most pressing things – and even more so if we can see delegation as a cop out. It’s worth pointing that if you really are so busy you cannot do something, it is not a choice and thus not procrastination.
  1. Lacking something. You don’t know how to do something, where to start, or what to do next is a great reason to park off in the procrastination zone. If you do not find the answers or the resources, you can stay there a long, long time. It takes no effort, and yet it still drains your energy.
  1. I don’t care. Oh, stop it! If you really don’t care, you have taken step B above. If you are telling yourself you don’t care when you do, are probably a drama addict doing some version of #2, resisting pressure. At the very least, you are avoiding sorting out your mental, emotional and spiritual priorities.

When thinking about things, reasoning with yourself, isn’t enough to get you doing them…

  • Emotion might get you going: You could guilt yourself into doing it (or have someone make you feel guilty), or you might look for the satisfaction in accomplishing it, and if you can’t get angry or excited enough…
  • Getting in touch with what truly matters about either the activity or the outcome might be the starter fuel you need.

If your procrastination still hurts, CLICK HERE to let me know.
I genuinely have some salve for you.

Author: Sue Hines

  1. Sue — No doubt I’m a procrastinator as I sit here surrounded by a disorderly desk and papers on the floor. I just need to dig in and “Do it” but it just seems too daunting so the pile gets higher!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Is Microsoft Starting a Trend in Customer Service?My Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines02-01-2015

      Hi Jeanette, the big pile of stuff to be done is a common source of procrastination. Chunk it down into pieces. Once you knwo what the elements are, and it is not all one big “stuff” – schedule!

  2. Susan CooperSusan Cooper01-28-2015

    Hi Sue, I like the either do it or take it off the list. It puts an end to all the internal guilt trips I give myself for not doing it, when I know I should. And it saves loads of paper when I keep adding those same items over and over and over to my to do lists, knowing full well I’ll probably never do them. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Forgiveness: #MuseMy Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines01-29-2015

      Exactly, Susan. There is a slightly different hack that works too… put it on tomorrow’s list and forget about it for today. That gives the same freedom “in the moment.”

  3. CatarinaCatarina01-28-2015

    Am usually not a procrastinator. But, strange as it may sound, sometimes “procrastinating” is your best option. Negotiating is a very good example of that. If you are too eager you will not get the best deal possible. Si by “procrastinatin”g calling your counterpart you will most likely get more of what you want.
    Catarina recently posted…Entrepreneurs – Do you master online storytelling?My Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines01-28-2015

      Great point you bring up, Catarina. It all comes down to the definition of procrastination. If you are strategically using non-action, it is not procrastinating, though. Delay, postpone, hold off and a myriad of other words apply. Procrastination does have that “sting” to it that means it is something you mean to do but are putting off – usually because you don’t want to do it – often unreasonably and for reasons well within your control.

  4. Jacqueline GumJacqueline Gum01-27-2015

    I am not a procrastinator in general, but I think all of us, me included, put off some things for the exact reasons you cite above. For me, if the task is multi-tiered and time consuming, I can get paralyzed! There is task on my to-do list that fits that description now! LOL So this is kick in the pants…I need it:) And “I don’t care” are on my list of the three most offense words in the world.
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Balls… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines01-27-2015

      Ha! Being overwhelmed is one of the biggies! If we’re facing something too big or complex… the wheels come of the motivation truck quite quickly. There, of course, the secret is in deciding how much you are going to bite off “Right Now” and allowing everything else to slip off your shoulders.

  5. ikechiikechi01-27-2015

    A very great post about procrastination. I enjoyed the the tip on how to know if one is procrastinating.

    Speaking on procrastination, I agree with the mental boosters that make one to procrastinate. Fear is number one culprit. We postpone what we are supposed to do because we are afraid of failure.

    Being busy and resisting pressure help too, the temptation not have time is the workshop for procrastination.

    Having an I don’t care attitude isn’t going to stop you from procrastination. Thanks for sharing
    ikechi recently posted…5 Thought Provoking Questions That Will Challenge YouMy Profile

    • Sue HinesSue Hines01-27-2015

      You’re right, an I don’t care attitude doesn’t do it. Fear is another story though – it’s a foil, an excuse. I agree that it is the number one thing people SAY makes them procrastinate, but that’s really just lazy thinking in most cases. You might enjoy my other article on the subject: http://aspectsgalore.com/why-we-procrastinate/

  6. LenieLenie01-27-2015

    I am not a procrastinator for the simple reason – if I need to do something and don’t, it just keeps bugging me. It is a whole lot easier to just do it. I found this to be especially true of difficult tasks. Get it done and over with, then enjoy the rest of your day.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines01-27-2015

      One of the lucky few! Glad to hear that your internal “nagger” is being heard, Lenie!

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