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Procrastination is the Antithesis to Progress

I was thinking about procrastinating, but I decided to wait until tomorrow. Procrastination is an affliction that is really difficult and really easy to break at the same time. Let's look at why we procrastinate. Typically when we procrastinate it is because we don't particularly like the task that needs to be performed and in most situations we delay taking action out of fear. We look at what needs to be done, think of the work that is needed to complete the task and unless we take action immediately we tend to freeze.

Our instinct is to avoid discomfort at all costs and sometimes in order to get things done we try to force ourselves to do the thing. We have to almost convince ourselves that it is worth doing the activity whether it is doing the dishes or vacuuming or cutting the grass, but what if we stopped trying to force ourselves and start asking ourselves what needs to be done. What do I mean by asking ourselves?

I’m sure you probably have a list of things that you could do or need to do around the house or for work. If not, write that list down someplace that you will see it on a regular basis. Maybe it's a calendar, a white board or a blackboard in your kitchen like in our house. Once you have those written down, then ask yourself “if I have 10 minutes to get stuff done, what can I do?”. Then set yourself a starting time. Personally, I have a 10 second start time limit to where I have to get started on that task within 10 seconds. You can make your start time longer if you want, but I would recommend keeping it less than 5 minutes.

To reinforce your new action taking, make sure to reward yourself. A reward can be something as simple as marking off your calendar, watching 30 minutes of TV or scratching that task off your to-do list. If you have ever had a to do list, it is really satisfying to check off a task.

This is the basis of habit formation. We have a cue (asking ourselves what we want to get done), then we have the action or behavior we want to take (vacuum the living room) and then we have a reward (marking that off the to-do list). The key to making taking action immediately a habit, is to ensure all 3 aspects of the habit loop are performed. If one piece is missing, the loop cannot be closed.

Use this tool and you will become an action taker and you will see progress in other areas of your life simply by association.

Devoted to Your Health

Irish "I'll do it later" Mike


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