Procrastination: Causes, Consequences and 16 Tips on How to Avoid Procrastination

We’ve all been there before – we have a big project or goal that we’re supposed to be working on, but we just can’t seem to get started. We keep finding other things to do, or we convince ourselves that we’ll work on it later. But then later never comes, and the project remains undone. If this sounds familiar, then you’re probably a procrastinator like me.

But the good news is that there are ways to avoid procrastination and get stuff done! In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some techniques that have helped me overcome my Procrastination Demons. So if you’re ready to learn how to avoid procrastination and get stuff done, read on!

Why do I procrastinate so easily?

Procrastination is the act of postponing or delaying something. Though it is often associated with students putting off schoolwork, it can affect anyone of any age.

Why do we procrastinate? It’s a question that has baffled philosophers, scholars, and regular people for centuries. And it’s a question that continues to stump researchers today. There is no one answer to why we procrastinate. Instead, there are many causes. Some of the most commonly cited reasons for procrastination include:

  • Perfectionism: Striving for perfection can be a barrier to completing a task. When we think we have to do something perfectly, we’re more likely to put it off because we’re afraid of making a mistake.
  • Fear of failure: Related to perfectionism, fear of failure can also lead us to procrastinate. We might avoid starting a project because we’re afraid of not being able to do it well.
  • Lack of interest: It’s hard to get motivated to do something if you’re not interested in it. If you avoid a task because you don’t care about it, that might be a sign that you need to find a different way to approach the task or find a different task altogether.
  • Boredom can increase procrastination: Sometimes, the tasks we need to do are just plain boring. If you want to procrastinate because you’re bored, try breaking the task down into smaller chunks or making it more interesting.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: feeling overwhelmed by a task can also lead to procrastination. When we feel like we can’t possibly do something, it’s easy to put it off in favor of something else.
  • Distractions: In our modern world of constant stimulus, it’s easy to get distracted from the task at hand. If you find yourself unable to handle all the surrounding distractions, try working in a quiet place or setting aside some time each day for distraction-free work.
  • Lack of motivation: Finally, sometimes we just don’t have the motivation to get started on a task. This can be because of many factors, including low energy levels, depression, or anxiety.

Consequences of procrastination

At its most basic, procrastination is the act of putting off something that should be done. It is important to understand what causes procrastination to overcome it. Chronic procrastination can lead to bigger issues, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. With the right strategies, you can beat procrastination and take back control of your own life.

1. Anxiety, and depression

Procrastination can lead to long-term negative consequences, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. When we put off important tasks or avoid them altogether, it can take a toll on our mental health.

2. Decreased productivity

Procrastination can lead to decreased efficiency and productivity in all areas of life. You might spend more time on tasks than necessary because you’re constantly putting them off until the last minute.

3. Lack of motivation

Chronic procrastination can lead to a lack of motivation, as it’s difficult to muster up the energy to start on tasks. As time progresses, you might avoid tasks more and more until eventually, you get nothing done.

4. Missed deadlines

Putting off tasks until the last minute can lead to missed deadlines and other consequences. This can affect your grades, relationships, job prospects, and more.

5. Poor quality work

When you wait until the last minute to do something, you rarely have time to do it properly, which can lead to subpar work. This can have serious repercussions, such as lower grades or poor performance reviews.

6. Relationship problems

Procrastination can also cause problems in your personal relationships. For example, if you consistently put off doing things that your partner asks you to do, it can lead to arguments and tension.

7. Opportunities missed

If you’re constantly putting off taking action on your goals, you’ll miss out on opportunities that could help you achieve those goals. For example, if you keep putting off networking, you might miss out on meeting someone who could help further your career.

What are the steps to stop procrastinating?

It’s estimated that 20% of people are chronic procrastinators, meaning they consistently put off tasks even when they know it’s not in their best interest. If you’re someone who struggles with procrastination, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are steps you can take to stop procrastinating.

1. Understand your motivation

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to understand your motivation. Why do you want to achieve your goal? What are the benefits of doing so? When you clearly understand your motivation, it will be easier to stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by other activities.

2. Develop self-control and self-compassion

Start by breaking down the task into smaller parts and focus on how you can complete one small task at a time. To stop procrastinating, set realistic goals, and if you don’t reach them, take a break and practice self-compassion.

3. Address your underlying needs

Take a few minutes to think about why you are procrastinating. Are you feeling overwhelmed by a large task? Do you lack the motivation or energy to focus? Identify how you can take a break and where in your life you can create more balance.

4. Practice how to say no

It is important to practice how to say no to people and tasks that are taking up too much of your time. Be honest with yourself and others about how much time you can dedicate to a task, and set boundaries to make sure that you are not taking on more than you can handle.

5. Break tasks down

Large tasks can intimidate, so break a big task down into smaller, more manageable chunks. We often find work overwhelming and put it off because of it. To combat this, break such tasks into smaller pieces so you can focus on one part at a time. If you still don’t want to do it after breaking it down, make the sections even smaller. Eventually, the task will be so simple that procrastinating won’t make sense anymore!

This is one of the time management techniques. For example, if you’re writing an essay, start by outlining your points and then move on to writing each paragraph. Or if you’re cleaning the house, start with one room at a time. If you’re a habitual procrastinator, to do lists can be helpful.

6. Set Realistic Goals

In addressing procrastination, it is also important to set realistic goals. If your goal is too big or unrealistic, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged, which can lead to procrastination. Instead, break your goal down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This will make it seem less daunting and more achievable.

7. Set a deadline

Besides setting goals, it is also important to set a deadline for yourself. This will help to keep you accountable and motivated. Make sure that your deadline is realistic and achievable, otherwise, you may end up feeling stressed and discouraged.

8. Eliminate distractions

One of the main reasons people procrastinate is that they allow themselves to get distracted by other activities. To avoid this, make sure that you eliminate all distractions before beginning work on your task. This means turning off your phone, closing all tabs on your computer except for the one you are working on, and putting away any other potential sources of distraction.

9. Change your environment

Different environments have different effects on how productive you are. If you constantly procrastinate, try changing your work environment to get rid of possible distraction. For example, working in a quiet room or library may be more conducive to staying focused than working in a bustling coffee shop. Or if you’re trying to be creative, try going to a cafe or outdoor space to work.

10. Finish your day before it starts

Rather than struggling to come up with a plan each day, take a few minutes at the end of every day to map out what you’ll do tomorrow. This will help avoid procrastination. Jot down tasks in order of importance, and how long each one will take. This will help you avoid having to understand what to do the next morning.

For example, I write and review my plans for the next day before bed every night. This helps me to be organized and avoid procrastination.

11. Stay focused on the most important tasks

It can be tempting to start with easy tasks or switch to a different task as soon as you become bored or overwhelmed by one. But it’s important to stay focused, especially if the task is important. Make sure you are working on the most important task first, and then move to other tasks.

12. Re-clarify your goals

Procrastination can show that what we want and our current path may not match. This occurs when we learn more about ourselves but don’t change our goals to reflect this new perspective. To realign, take some time off from work- even a weekend will do- to assess your wants and needs. What steps should you take going forward? Does your job fit with these ambitions? And if not, how can you change that?

13. Do it now

Stop waiting for the perfect time to do something; it will never come. If you keep telling yourself that now is not a good time because of XY&Z, you’ll accomplish nothing. Perfectionism often leads to procrastination, so get rid of that thought and just start doing it! Set small goals, complete those, and move on to the next task.

14. Hang out with the right people

Spend more time around the people who inspire you to take action and avoid those who procrastinate. Hang out with people who are driven, energized, and motivated to get things done. They can motivate and inspire you to stay focused on your tasks and help you overcome procrastination.

15. Take a break

If you’re struggling with how to stop procrastinating, remember that taking a break can help. A few minutes off from work can help reset your focus and energy. It’s also important to remember that how we treat ourselves has a big effect on our motivation and ability to focus. Take breaks regularly and be kind to yourself when you make mistakes or don’t meet your expectations.

When all else fails, try imagining the consequences of not doing the task. Consider how it will affect your future self, how it will impact your emotional and mental health, and how it could lead to negative consequences. This can be a powerful motivator to get back on track and avoid procrastination.

16. Reward yourself

Contrary to popular belief, rewards are great motivation- especially when it comes to a satisfied customer. Rewards signify employee is doing their job well and motivate them to keep up the good work! Rewarding yourself for completing tasks is also a great strategy to use in avoiding procrastination.

If you’re finding it hard to stay on task, this is a good way to trick your brain into focus. This is where tip comes in. Reward yourself for completing tasks, large or small. This can be anything from a quick lunch solo to a big night out with friends. Whatever it is, make sure you’re rewarding your future self for how hard you’ve worked!


Procrastination is a dangerous habit that can lead to negative consequences in our lives. However, there are ways to avoid procrastination and achieve our goals. By understanding the causes of procrastination and creating a plan to overcome it, we can be successful despite this bad habit. Have you ever struggled with procrastination? What techniques have worked for you to overcome it?