If you think you are a hopeless procrastinator, take heart! No one is beyond help. The fact that you procrastinate does not mean that you are inherently lazy or inefficient. Your procrastination is not an untamable beast.
It is a habit that has some specific origin, and it is a habit that you can overcome. This handout will help you begin to understand why you procrastinate and give you some strategies for turning things around. For most procrastinators, however, there are no quick fixes. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and never procrastinate again. But you might wake up tomorrow and do one or two simple things that will help you finish that draft a little earlier or with less stress.
You may not be surprised to learn that procrastinators tend to be self-critical. So, as you consider your procrastination and struggle to develop different work habits, try to be gentle with yourself.
Punishing yourself every time you realize you have put something off won’t help you change. Rewarding yourself when you make progress will.
If you don’t care why you procrastinate—you just want to know what to do about it—then you might as well skip the next section of this handout and go right to the section labeled “What to do about it.” If you skip to the strategies, however, you may only end up more frustrated. Taking the time to learn about why you procrastinate may help you avoid the cycle whereby you swear up and down that you will never procrastinate again, only to find that the next time you have a paper due, you are up until 3 a.m. trying to complete the first (and only) draft—without knowing why or how you got there.