put off procrastination
January 30, 2017 | by The Polyclinic

By: Biz Bryan, Behavioral Health Intern and UW Candidate for MSW

Do you have a tough time managing items on your to-do list? From tasks we have to do (pay that bill) to activities we wish we could do more of (practice yoga), procrastinating can challenge all of us.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is a decision to delay or not complete a task.

What contributes to procrastination?

There are many factors that can create procrastinator tendencies. Here are a few:

  • Fear of failure. If you don’t try, you can’t fail. Unfortunately this means you can’t succeed either.
  • Perfectionism. If “it has to be perfect” is the standard for a task, it can be difficult to start the task.
  • Low energy. It can be hard to be productive if you are tired and easily distracted.

Manage Stress and Improve Emotional Wellbeing

Procrastination is one of several topics covered in a new seminar series offered in Living Well: Practical Tools for Managing Stress and Improving Emotional Health. Learn more and sign up for these by The Polyclinic Behavioral Health Department.

How can I overcome procrastination habits?

  1. Prioritize by importance. Rate your tasks by importance and focus on selecting and completing the highest priorities. Of these priorities, try doing the hardest or task you dread the most, first.
  2. Grade each task. Break each task into smaller pieces. Set time measurements for each piece.
  3. Schedule time. Give yourself enough time to complete items, and also to transition between them. Schedule tasks accordingly so that you work during the time that best matches your task. For example, if you fall asleep while reading every night, try scheduling time to finish your book in the morning.

What is your procrastination roadblock?

Try this exercise. Write down something you’ve been procrastinating, review your self-talk, and identify an action to get the task done.

Roadblock Self-talk Action
What keeps you from completing the task? What are you telling yourself about completing the task? What things do you need to say to yourself
and/or do to overcome your roadblock?