How to Cure Procrastination

goal settingSomewhere, I once read “The Future Me is a Jerk”, the procrastinator in me found the statement oddly profound. So here I am trying to write a post on procrastination. Well, how can we cure procrastination? Using the word “cure” implies it is a form of illness.  Illness or not, the future me is a jerk and I need to improve my relationship with this jerk.


Get Perspective:

First, there is the need for getting perspective.  Understanding what future impact the procrastination is going to have.

Let’s say I’m setting a goal for getting in shape in order to run a 5K race. To achieve this goal I need to set a smart goal.  {Check the The Purple Almond Blog for helpful forms) I decide, I go to the gym every morning.  Doing this, I have to understand my future self and present self. My future self, the jerk in me, which I will lovingly call Henry.  Even though I’m super motivated and excited about achieving my goal. Present me, which we call Mary, is visualizing the goal, me, easily sprinting across the finish line, arms raise high and with a big smile.  I’m super motivated by present me, Mary.

Then my future self, Henry, having the most dysfunctional relationship with my present self, Mary. Henry will do everything to sabotage my plans and silence Mary.  Even though I have told myself, I will get up at six am and go to the gym, Mary motivating me, telling how great it will be.  Henry will come along, silencing Mary, saying” Have another piece of pie, watch the end of this movie, have another glass of wine. It is only another half hour. Only thirty minutes passed your scheduled bed time.”  Then 30 minutes later Henry will say, did you check your Facebook, you need to check your blog, you need to check your emails, you need, you need, your need.

There is the little quiet voice of Mary, not having totally given up saying “you can still get up early”  The next morning not even a fire under my mattress will get me out of bed at six am to go to the gym after 4 hours of sleep.

Understanding the future impact of not going to the gym and the dysfunctional relationship between Henry and Mary will help to tap into some motivation.  For example, if I don’t go to the gym and say “I go tomorrow” what if tomorrow never comes and in stead just turns into another tomorrow excuse.  With each passing day the goal of getting in shape will move further way.  Eventually running the desired race will be out of reach unable to attain, not enough training time remains.  So I would need to pick a new race far enough in the future to have enough time to train and get ready.  That date now may be the following year. Understanding the future impact, understanding the possibility of missing the starting window, having to pick a different race, which may now be the following year, will bring the realization that if procrastination continues the goal may never be attained.

Motivate Yourself:

Motivation is the reason why we work towards a goal in the first place.  Setting  goals is important, setting realistic goals  is even more important. If I set my goal and picture the end result, imaging how I will feel having achieved it. Hence, listening to Mary.  The exhilarating feeling of having accomplished a goal, complete a miles stone.  Digging into this motivation and everything is going to be much easier. Setting up smart goals with a number of small mile stones will help you and keep you motivated.

Clear Confusion:

There have been items on my to-do-list which were moved from one day to the next.  I realize that this isn’t Henry, who is keeping me from completing my task.  This one is little Sue crying boo hoo. The item is moved from one day to the next because there is an element involved where I’m unsure how to tackle it.  Is it still procrastination or lack of proper planning?  Either way I think it happens to all of us and understanding why the items isn’t completed is part of the battle. Re-assessing the situation, clearing the confusion and setting aside time to reach out to someone or researching the topic online will help. A plan of attack needs to be formulated before an attack can be attempted.  No plan, no success or as for me an item moved on my to-do-list from one day to the next.


Being a perfectionist is a very easy way to procrastinate.  Lucky me that isn’t always my problems  True I would like everything I put my name on, to be of the utmost best but I did realize long time ago, I’m human and being perfect is just dream, I dream.  So starting a project because I’m afraid it will not be perfect that isn’t really my problem, finishing a project because it isn’t as perfect as I would like, now there is my problem. Maybe my middle name is perfectionist after all.  At this point it helps me to remember Monet’s waterlilies. He painted over 250 of them.  Each time finishing one but not being completely satisfied he started another one but the key is, he finished.

5 Minutes:

In my perfect world I have my five-minute rule.  True at times I forget about it but most of the time if something takes less than five minutes I just go ahead and do it.  If I stop following my five minute rule my life quickly spiracles out of control.

As for the big stuff, I make a schedule and built healthy habits.  I started to use Jena’s Habit Tracker it is an awesome tool and it keeps me on track. Just as you get up and take a shower every day, Jena’s Habit Tracker helps me creating healthy habits.


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