Prague, Czech Republic

95% of the human beings are going to postpone making a decision or to start an action at some point in our life. Up to a point this is normal. However, when we start doing it frequently, this will have consequences on an emotional level. This can trigger feelings of guilt, which affect motivation or self-confidence or bring feelings of failure. In the workplace or professional life can also affect our productivity.

We can suspect that someone has a procrastination problem when this person has his/her day full of many activities that are not really important. Or when someone starts a project and looks for ways, activities or places where can be distracted or when this person gives priority to other people's projects and "has no time" for himself / herself.

There are 6 main reasons for procrastination:

  1. The task may be boring, uninviting or even unpleasant
  2. There is bad organization. By not having a plan you can postpone an activity because you do not know what the next step will be.
  3. There may be a problem of self-esteem or self-confidence. It may be that the person does not feel able to perform or complete the task in a satisfactory manner.
  4. You can experience a fear of success and then success is postponed (Read more here)
  5. People with perfectionist traits can postpone fearing not to do things perfectly.
  6. It can also be a more serious symptom such as an obsessive personality disorder, anxiety, depression, guilt or pathological stress.

Procrastination is a habit and as such it is not easy to remove it. But here we talk about not just replacing the bad habit but also replacing it with another that is more productive or rewarding. To change a habit we will need from 3 weeks to 3 months. To change a habit you need to have a decision, a personal effort but also many times we will need to seek external help, either from people in your life that you can trust or professional help.

Procrastination can restrict your potential and undermine your career. It can also interrupt teamwork, reduce morale and even lead to depression and job loss. So, it is crucial to take proactive measures to prevent it in three steps.

1) Recognize that you are procrastinating: The first step to overcome the procrastination is to recognize that you are doing it.

2) Identify the reasons behind your behavior and use appropriate strategies to manage and overcome it.

3) Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies. There are three main branches of action and strategy to overcome pathological procrastination:

A) You have to change how you see the tasks: from a "I need to do ..." or a "I have to do ..." for a "I want to do ..." For that you have to:

1. Eliminate possible distractions

2. Start with the most unpleasant task

3. Do not lose sight of the long-term gains of performing this task.

B) It is necessary to plan. Having a clear plan of action is going to help you not put off doing things. Must have:

1. A prioritized list distinguishing the urgent from the important

2. Set goals for us at specific times.

3. Divide projects into stages: where we can see small gains and advances

C) Ask for help. You do not have to do everything alone. Approach a group, a friend, a family member or a professional who can accompany and support you during your process.

Pablo Munoz