Procrastination – what is it and how to combat it?

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Procrastination is the habit of putting off important and urgent matters to a later date, which often prevents you from completing your plans on time, and often has a destructive effect on your life. In this article, we help you understand what this phenomenon is and how to combat it

What is Procrastination?

When you put off doing something important to take care of something more enjoyable or easier, you experience procrastination. Psychology professor Clarry Lay researched this phenomenon and defined it as “a temporary gap between intended and prescribed behavior.” Thus, it occurs when there is a long period of time between the intention to do the work and actually doing it.

Diagnosis of Procrastination

Below we have listed “symptoms” that will help you recognize this problem:

  • waiting for the right mood to complete a task;
  • spending the workday on low-priority tasks;
  • reading emails without responding to them or making decisions about them;
  • starting to work on a task and taking a break a while later;
  • putting off very important tasks;
  • filling time with unimportant activities instead of focusing on work;
  • finding plausible excuses not to complete a task.


Putting off important things is not always procrastination. In some cases, it is a deliberate tactic to delay making decisions or setting new priorities.

If you feel tired and the task requires a lot of energy, you can postpone it. If the interruption lasts no more than a day and happens infrequently rather than regularly, it is not procrastination.

Where does procrastination come from?

The cause of this phenomenon can be either the task itself waiting to be completed or personality traits. Not every job is enjoyable, and routine tasks get boring over time. Often the best way to deal with routine is to get your chores done quickly and then focus on something more enjoyable.

Procrastination resulting from personality traits is otherwise known as disorganization. Well-organized people are able to resist the temptation to procrastinate and act according to a prioritized to-do list. They have developed the ability to estimate their time commitment, so they are able to determine when to start so that the task is completed on time. Being organized is also the ability to determine the most efficient sequence of steps required to complete a task. Disorganized people have difficulty with the above elements of effective work.

Fighting Procrastination

Procrastination is a habit, an established act of behavior. This means that it cannot be changed with a snap of the fingers. Bad habits can be changed through constant effort and work on yourself.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Here are some ways to deal with procrastination

Create your reward

You can assign yourself or a subordinate a reward – at least a small but enjoyable one – for completing a task on time.

Plan activities or take control

If you are a supervisor, don’t forget to control the completion of the task exactly on time. If you are developing your own organizational skills, ask someone to take control of your task. For example, promise your supervisor that the task will be completed by a certain date and ask him to ask for a report at that time.

Punishments for not completing the task

Value your or your employees’ time. The one spent on the most important tasks can be valued higher. Pay only for time spent effectively. If you are a subordinate, reimburse your employer every time there is a delay.

Implement this important rule

Begin each day by completing the most important task you have set for yourself. In this case, it is extremely important to get started right away.

How do you develop your organization?

  1. Stick to your to-do list, no matter how enjoyable the task.
  2. Concentrate on one task at a time. Even in “multitasking” mode, you need to divide your time into sections when you only do one task
  3. Divide tasks into small, manageable sections.


To defeat procrastination, you need to be sure that it is happening. Identify when and why you put off tasks. If the cause of procrastination is the task itself, use problem-solving techniques. If it’s due to personal disorganization, focus on developing organizational skills.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

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