Rumour has it that approx 20 per cent of adults are chronic procrastinators.

Despite knowing the benefits of being productive, do you tend to put off what we need and even want to do today? Not realising it undermines your happiness, stresses you out and prevents you from reaching our goals. Studies suggest that procrastinators tend to be more ‘stressed out’ than people who actually ‘get started’.

Why do we procrastinate?

Admit it, a little part of you knows that you’ll be worse off if you delay doing what needs to be done – so, why procrastinate?

Research shows that procrastinators may dread failure. Who wants to fail? If a fear of failure becomes so great that you don’t try new things, procrastination emerges. Perhaps you hardly ever work out because you fear feeling so tired and worn out. Or you don’t apply for promotion because you fear getting rejected.

They may be afraid of success, they may desire to be defiant, they may be a risk taker or an absolute perfectionist – any one of these behaviours affect the ability to make decisions.

How about you? What causes you to procrastinate? Check out these procrastination triggers and find out how you can address them…


1, The fear factor

The next time you are faced with a fear, immediately step into action, however big or small the achievement action is better than inaction. Regret can be a crippling feeling to live with. Action breeds opportunity.

2, Shift the deadlines

If you work best under pressure and tend to cram, trick your mind by creating a new earlier deadline. Schedule your task completion way ahead of time and realise just how much more free time you have on your hands.

3, Start early

Not only can you stretch your time by waking up early, but you also get to enjoy quiet moments and have plenty of time reflecting and planning your day. Concentrate on a few important tasks as soon as you get up and get a bunch of work done that would have taken many more hours during the distractions of the day.

4, Get more sleep

Go to sleep early, wake up early. You need to recharge your batteries and more sleep helps you to do that. Exhaustion leads to procrastination.

5, Ease into your to-do list

Completing tasks gives you a feeling of accomplishment, which boosts your motivation. Start with just three tasks and make the first one a difficult one. Once you’ve completed the first task, you become more motivated and the remaining two are easier anyway.

6, Even more horrible

Think of something you really, really don’t want to do (the worse the better). Soon you’ll find yourself doing what you really need to do because it’s better than the horrible chore.

7, Coach yourself

Whether it’s every 15 minutes, 30 minutes or hour, set up a reminder that you should be working on something and not wasting your time. It’s like having a coach checking on your progress.

8, Make yourself accountable

Announce your intentions publicly. Tell friends and family, use social networks, write a blog and do whatever it takes to make yourself more accountable for getting work done.

9, Be mindful

Be aware of what you’re doing. Apart from announcing your tasks, don’t get mindlessly stuck on social networks or other leisure activities that prevent you from getting work done. Occasionally unplug yourself from the digital world and give yourself some quiet time.

Let me know which tricks work best for you.


Richard Scott, President of the Australian Association of Professional Hypnotherapists and NLP (AAPHAN), specialises in the release of anxiety, plus the related issues of stress, weight, confidence, self-esteem, and self-empowerment.

He combines psychology, NLP and CBT with over 14 years’ professional, full-time experience in traditional and modern hypnosis to deliver the fastest, most successful results.