We’re all guilty of it. Pushing things back again and again until the deadline is uncomfortably near. We tell ourselves that next time we’ll start earlier and have a better workflow, but the procrastination inevitably returns.

The habit of procrastination often tosses us into a loop of non-achieving behaviors. Not to say all of our procrastination methods are unhealthy — many people will exercise, read, spend time with family, or work on other materials. 

But, the act of procrastination gives rise to a host of negative emotional responses, like frustration and dissatisfaction. 

So, how do we break the loop? 

Scientific studies have identified the two main factors behind our brain’s tendency to procrastinate: anxiety and fear. 

Often times these two factors can disguise themselves as other emotions or even physical ailments like exhaustion or insomnia. 

We know the cause, what’s the fix?

Two tried and true ways to overcome procrastination are time management (no surprise here) and meditation (actually surprising). 

There are three steps you can take to immediately improve your time management:

  • Identify your specific goals
  • Figure out what steps are required to achieve those goals
  • Figure out what steps are required to achieve those goals

This process helps to bind your awareness to the task at hand, while simultaneously making the tasks appear more manageable. 

Directly tied to time management and procrastination is the process of self-regulation. In fact, procrastination is often defined by psychologists as the failure of self-regulation.

One practice is scientifically proven to promote self-regulation while simultaneously reducing fear and anxiety: meditation.

The act of attempting to do nothing seems pretty counter-intuitive when talking about avoiding procrastination. However, practicing meditation really does attack the foundation of behaviors that procrastination stems from. 

We’ve talked about meditation and mindfulness before, check out some tips and suggestions for getting started here.

Whew! Alright, that was a pretty heavy topic! But, we got through it and are better because of it.

Check out Tim Urban’s hilarious talk on procrastination here for some more information and a good laugh.