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Overcome Procrastination

Procrastination can be seen as an alternation between SNS activation involving adrenaline dependence obtained by delay and "11th hour heoric effort" - followed by DVC shutdown "crash and recover."

In IFS terms, we could see this as alternation between perfectionist fix protector in SNS arousal and a freeze protector response.

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Breaking the Perfectionism-Procrastination Infinite Loop 

article excerpt and quotes

"Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. This stems from the fear that not meeting the goal means that there is something bad, wrong or unworthy inside of them. Further, perfectionists fear that failure will invoke criticism or ridicule either from internal voices or external authorities and peers. The higher the fear of failure and ridicule, the more perfectionists procrastinate.

To clarify, procrastination is not laziness. It’s more a misguided sense of activity based on a low tolerance for frustration and failure. When people perceive a higher challenge than they feel capable of, they sidestep the discomfort through diversion. Studies reveal a cognitive aspect as well: people procrastinate when they view concrete tasks in abstract terms. For example, when you delay completing a task that seems like it will take a really long time, only to realize that it took less time to do it than to think about it repeatedly."


  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Hazelden, 2010
  • The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, Harper Perennial, 2010
  • The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, Tarcher, 2007
  • Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine Books, 2007
  • Banishing Your Inner Critic”, A List Apart, 20 September 2011
  • Banish Your Inner Critic”, Port80 Conference, 16 May 2014

Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)

article excerpt and quotes

"What are some other, healthier ways to manage the feelings that typically trigger procrastination?

 Cultivate curiosity: If you’re feeling tempted to procrastinate, bring your attention to the sensations arising in your mind and body. What feelings are eliciting your temptation? Where do you feel them in your body? What do they remind you of? What happens to the thought of procrastinating as you observe it? Does it intensify? Dissipate? Cause other emotions to arise? How are the sensations in your body shifting as you continue to rest your awareness on them?

Consider the next action: This is different than the age-old advice to break up a task you’re tempted to avoid into bite-sized chunks. According to Dr. Pychyl, focusing only on the “next action” helps calm our nerves, and it allows for what Dr. Pychyl called “a layer of self-deception.” At the start of a given task, you can consider the next action as a mere possibility, as if you were method acting: “What’s the next action I’d take on this if I were going to do it, even though I’m not?” Maybe you would open your email. Or perhaps you would put the date at the top of your document. Don’t wait to be in the mood to do a certain task. “Motivation follows action. Get started, and you’ll find your motivation follows,” Dr. Pychyl said.

Make your temptations more inconvenient: It’s still easier to change our circumstances than ourselves, said Gretchen Rubin, author of “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits.” According to Ms. Rubin, we can take what we know about procrastination and “use it to our advantage” by placing obstacles between ourselves and our temptations to induce a certain degree of frustration or anxiety. If you compulsively check social media, delete those apps from your phone or “give yourself a really complicated password with not just five digits, but 12,” Ms. Rubin said. By doing this, you’re adding friction to the procrastination cycle and making the reward value of your temptation less immediate.

On the other side of the coin, Ms. Rubin also suggested that we make the things we want to do as easy as possible for ourselves. If you want to go to the gym before work but you’re not a morning person, sleep in your exercise clothes. “Try to remove every, every, every roadblock,” Ms. Rubin said."


Amygdala Hijack

"You can also practice long-term prevention by engaging in regular calming practices. For instance, starting a regular meditation practice will naturally help your fight, flight, or freeze response become less reactive.

In a large brain scan study from 2018, researchers discovered that long-term meditators had reduced amygdala activation when they were shown images designed to invoke negative feelings.

The findings also showed that after just 8 weeks of meditation training, the brains of participants who were new to meditation showed an increase in connectivity between the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (a part of the brain that supports goal-tracking and self-regulation).

Practicing mindfulness — staying in the present moment without judgment — is another way to prepare for a potential amygdala attack.

Consider starting a meditation practice to help calm your fight, fight, or freeze response. You can also practice mindfulness, or take up journaling on a daily basis."

Overcoming Procrastination

article excerpt and quotes

"Here are starting points that usually work if we can actually implement them.

Start with smaller, fixed amounts of time. Let’s use writing as an example. Just start with 15 minutes at a time. That’s it! Doing so reduces the “pain” of the process and we’ll feel more easily lead into to it. What we usually do is say we need 3 hours and it has to go SO well. That ain’t happening! You can also see how much pain is attached to that kind of expectation. Keep it small and get used to it – soon you will be able to do more.

 Activate the Autopilot – choose process over product. Many procrastinators actually think too highly of themselves! That book or product has to be the “best thing ever” and that keeps them stuck. Don’t focus on the product! Just get moving on the “process” and then rinse and repeat.


Create a schedule in advance. Yes, I know this sounds basic…but we still don’t do it! Ultimately we need to give time to the things we value. Time will not appear for your project or goal unless you block it out in advance. When that time comes we treat it like an actual appointment - we don’t change it!"

Be aware of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination:

  • Prioritize Sleep If your goal is to get better rest, the first thing you can do is make sleep a top priority. Remind yourself why getting to bed on time is important. If you feel more rested the next day, you’re more likely to have the energy to get through the tasks you need to accomplish. 
  •  Practice Good Sleep Habits Establishing some quality sleep practices can improve the overall quality and amount of sleep you get. Some things you can strive to do include having a consistent bedtime and wake-time, skipping alcohol and caffeine in the afternoon and evening,18 and creating a comfortable sleep environment. 
  •  Assess Your Schedule Since a busy schedule is often at the root of revenge bedtime procrastination, take a hard look at your daily demands. Cut out the things that aren’t important or that are eating up all of your time. If your daytime activities are leaving you unhappy and unfulfilled, let them go if you can. You’re less likely to feel the need to avenge your loss of time if you don’t feel resentful of losing those precious hours of your day. 
  •  Schedule Time for Yourself Since you’re cutting things out of your schedule, focus on replacing those unwanted activities with time to indulge in some of the things that you love. This may not always be easy, particularly for parents or professionals who don’t have the ability to step away from their obligations and responsibilities. One way to deal with this is to plan and prioritize “alone time” how you would anything else. Schedule that block of time for yourself, then find someone—whether it’s a friend, babysitter, partner, or family member—who can take over while you enjoy your break. 
  •  Start Your Nighttime Routine Earlier Another way to fight revenge bedtime procrastination is to begin your nightly routine early. Set an alarm for an hour before you would normally begin getting ready for bed. Giving yourself this extra time to wind down from the day may help you feel more sleepy, which may help you resist the urge to stay up late. 
  •  Turn Off the Digital Devices Turn off the autoplay feature on your streaming service and skip scrolling through social media sites while lying in bed. Instead, focus on practicing relaxation habits that promote sleep, such as doing some gentle stretches, meditating, or reading a book.


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