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5 Ways to Break the Bad Habit of Procrastination

By HERWriter
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Wellness related image via Unsplash

Procrastination is an issue that many people have to deal with. The tendency to delay or postpone something even happens to perfectionists.

One in five people have an issue with procrastination, but that doesn't mean that you should worry.(1) There are things that you can do to help break the "bad habit," according to Tim Pychyl, Associate Professor of Psychology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Pychyl describes those who procrastinate as people who deal with socially-prescribed perfectionism. These are usually people who find their work to always be inferior. They may do things out of the fear of failure. They also could procrastinate to avoid embarrassment or shame(2).

So what can people who deal with socially-prescribed perfectionism do to help with their procrastination? Here are a few tips to help change those habits:

1) Realistically plan: Completing a task may seem impossible, but breaking your task down into smaller, more realistic things that you can do may help you get things done.

2) Begin with the more difficult task: When you get the harder things out of the way, it makes the rest of your tasks easier to accomplish. Use your energy on the more difficult task and know that from then on things will only get easier.

3) Set a timer for yourself: There’s always a little more effort when something is a competition, so why not race time with the tasks that you have ahead of you.

4) Block your distractions: Procrastinators can be easily distracted by anything from friends and family to social media. Try to avoid the things that distract you from your focus.

5) Get out of your comfort zone: Sometimes our procrastination comes simply from the environment that we’re in. Next time you have a set list of things to do, try being in a place that you usually wouldn’t do your work. The new setting could help you focus in on what you have to do.

Reviewed March 7, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Read more in Being HER

(1) When Procrastination Is a Problem, and How to Fix It. WebMD. March 2 2016.

(2)Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Distress. Psychology Today. March 2 2016.


(3)What Flavor of Perfectionist Are You? It Matters! Psychology Today. March 2 2016.


(4) How To Stop Procrastinating. RealSimple.com. March 2 2016.


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.