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How I Overcome Procrastination

woman procrastinating


While doing my nursing degree at University, my tutor gave me an assignment I had three months to complete. Even though the task would require great research, my mind was calm, and I exuded confidence, for I had a whole three months to put my ducks in a row.

Then the night before the assignment was due, I found myself frantic, working vigorously to beat the morning deadline.

So, what the hell happened? How did I even get there?

The short answer is I procrastinated.

No one is immune to procrastination. While it is naturally an enticing snare, it has nothing to do with laziness. Instead, there are triggers and thought processes involved, leading to a persistent lack of motivation and willpower. While I cannot claim to be completely cured of procrastination, as I sometimes relapse, I have found ways to mitigate these relapses by:

Rewarding Myself

It is normal and natural to gravitate towards more enjoyable activities. Instead of working on the assignment, I had spent many a spare time watching episodes of Bones, checking my Twitter account and cleaning the cupboards. Those things were more enjoyable than the work I had been given.

A way I mitigate this tendency is to work through the bit of the task I enjoy most and work towards the more challenging bits. Then, with each completion, I reward myself. And the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward.

For instance, for one easy or more enjoyable task I complete, I may watch two more episodes of Bones, perhaps an hour on YouTube. The more taxing the assignment gets means I get to watch more episodes and indulge more upon completion. That way, I also eliminate the guilt that cripples me whenever I indulge at the expense of focusing on pertinent tasks.


I have recognised that I have a tendency to self-deprecate. I've had days where I wake up and wonder, ' what is the point?' Rather than focusing on my areas of strength, I zoom in on my shortcomings and what could go wrong instead of what could go right. If it is really bad, I may become convinced that I'm not good enough and that no one cares. Ultimately, this irrational thinking and negative self-talk push me over the edge and stops me from bothering.

Now that I have learnt this about myself, I:

Recognise My Triggers

I have learnt to manage my surroundings and the narratives I entertain. There is a lot happening it has become easy to get swept away with negativity. And nothing fosters defeatism than being surrounded by doom and gloom. Without encasing myself in a cacoon of ignorance and denial about the realities of life, I endeavour to divert my attention towards positive media and select my associations carefully.

I have learnt to not be so hard on myself and to give myself the grace to fail, make mistakes and learn from my failures and mistakes. After all, no one is perfect.

Minimising Distractions

I would be a rich woman if I had a penny for every minute I spend online or watching Netflix. Learning to taper the time I spend on these channels frees much of my time and helps me devote more time to my most pertinent tasks.

Taking a break from social media does wonders for one's mental health and boosts motivation. Because instead of spending endless hours combing profiles and comparing oneself to others, one focuses on what matters - gratitude, love, etc. The energy created by nourishing one's soul with healthy thoughts strengthens one's willpower, which thwarts the tendency to procrastinate.

My Repertoire

I'm an owl which means my focus sharpens at night time. Therefore, I capitalise on the nights I know I don't have commitments the next day. That way, I can burn the midnight oil without pressure, knowing I can always have a lie-in the following day.

Understanding myself in this manner has enabled me to adjust my schedule accordingly. I create a realistic timetable and manageable daily, weekly or monthly tasks, allowing me to focus more. The more I achieve, the more I feel accomplished, which, in turn, boosts my motivation, leading to me wanting to set more and bigger goals.

Healthy Lifestyle

Sometimes we put things off because our brain is tired and can't bear to face the task. But with adequate rest and a good diet, our mind and physical stamina are hammered into shape, thus enabling us to focus better and work through the work.

Certain foods do nothing for our concentration and vitality. Therefore, it is always prudent to watch our diet. In addition, exercise releases endorphins, which boost our mood, sharpen our minds and motivate us to get through tasks efficiently.

Accountability Partner

I have people that love me and know me rather well. So, whenever I feel the monster creeping in, I reach out to them, and they know what to say or do to encourage me to snap out of it. Therefore, if you have a friend or someone close, you trust not to judge you, then ask them to be your accountability partner and make a pact to help you with your procrastination. They can do this by reminding you of why you need, should or want to do the task in the first place.

Focus on the Process

Ideally, the motivation to complete tasks timely should be intrinsic. Because if I wait for perfect conditions to do something, the time may never come. Furthermore, the possibility of failure should not be my focus. Because focusing on the process rather than the results is more fruitful and likely to keep me driven, for I will find joy and appreciate the satisfaction of wrestling with a problem until I solve it.

Therefore, rather than dwell on the obstacles, we should embrace the journey and how it grows and strengthens us.

So, if you're a procrastinator, I hope you take something from my experience and solution.

1 Comment

Feb 23, 2023

It is hard not to procrastinate when the due date is not near especially when it come to doing school work. Time management is key to beat procrastination.

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