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The Science of Procrastination: Why We Delay and How to Overcome It

Procrastination is a behaviour that affects many people, causing them to delay important tasks until the last minute or even avoid them altogether. While some people may think of procrastination as simply being lazy or unmotivated, there are actually a number of psychological factors that contribute to this behaviour. In this article, we'll explore the science behind procrastination and discuss evidence-based strategies for overcoming it.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Procrastination is a complex behavior that can be influenced by a variety of psychological factors. One of the most common reasons people procrastinate is fear of failure. People may avoid starting a task for fear of not doing it perfectly or receiving negative feedback. This fear can be especially strong in situations where the stakes are high, such as a work project or a major exam.

Another reason people procrastinate is lack of motivation. If a task doesn't feel sufficiently interesting or engaging, it can be difficult to get started. This is especially true if the task is long or complex, as people may feel overwhelmed by the size of the task and struggle to know where to begin.

Finally, poor self-regulation skills can also contribute to procrastination. People who struggle to prioritize tasks or manage their time effectively may find themselves putting off important tasks in Favor of more immediately gratifying activities, such as checking social media or watching TV.

How Can We Overcome Procrastination?

Overcoming procrastination can be challenging, but there are a number of evidence-based strategies that can help. Here are a few tips to get started:

Set Specific Goals: One of the keys to overcoming procrastination is to set specific, achievable goals for yourself. This can help you stay focused and motivated and can also help you break a larger task into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, instead of saying "I need to finish this report by Friday," try breaking the report into smaller sections and setting deadlines for each section.

Break Tasks into Smaller Pieces: Speaking of breaking tasks into smaller pieces, this is another effective strategy for overcoming procrastination. By breaking a larger task into smaller steps, you can make it feel less overwhelming and more manageable, which can help you get started and stay on track. This strategy can also help you stay motivated by giving you a sense of progress as you complete each step.

Use Positive Self-Talk: The way we talk to ourselves can have a big impact on our motivation and productivity. Using positive self-talk, such as telling yourself "I can do this!" or "I've got this!", can help you feel more confident and motivated to get started. This can be especially helpful if you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed about a task.

Find an Accountability Partner: Having someone to hold you accountable can be a powerful motivator when it comes to overcoming procrastination. Find a friend, colleague, or family member who can check in on your progress and offer support and encouragement along the way. This can help you stay on track and make progress even when you're feeling unmotivated.


Procrastination is a common behaviour that can be difficult to overcome, but by understanding the science behind it and using evidence-based strategies, you can learn to manage your time more effectively and accomplish your goals. Whether you struggle with procrastination on a daily basis or only occasionally, these tips can help you get started and stay on track. Remember, the key to overcoming procrastination is to take small, manageable steps and stay motivated along the way. With practice, you can develop the skills and habits you need to overcome procrastination and achieve your goals.

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