Written by Margie Warrell

Procrastination is something that affects most of us – whether it be a deadline, a News Year’s resolution or a to-do list. A recent study of over 24,000 people globally found that 95 per cent occasionally procrastinated and 25 per cent were chronic procrastinators. This is fives times the rate it was in the 1970s.

The psychologist who led the study attributes the procrastination increase to the changing nature of the workplace: the more flexible jobs become, the more opportunities there are to avoid unpleasant tasks. Workers now typically spend a quarter of the day procrastinating, students a third of the day. Men are more likely than women to be chronic procrastinators, especially young men.

Forbes magazine columnist, bestselling author, Sunrise regular and mother of four Margie Warrell, who knows a thing or two about procrastination, has devised seven simple techniques you can use to avoid it. “I think it’s something everyone does from time to time,” she says.  “Sometimes it’s mundane stuff like filing taxes, but more often it’s the bigger stuff – like ending a relationship that’s dragging us down, beginning the process of pursuing a more rewarding career path, getting back into shape or pursuing a long-held dream.”

Seven ways to stop procrastinating

1. Write down your goal and how you will feel when you achieve it: Try to imagine the emotions you will feel once you have achieved it.

2. Set a deadline: A goal without a deadline can be put off indefinitely. “Someday” is not a day of the week.

3. Write down how you will feel a year from now if you continue to procrastinate. Get really present to the cost of continued inaction. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes!

4. Break the goal into small pieces: If the whole seems too big to tackle, break it into manageable, bite-size pieces.

5. Set up a reward system: An afternoon cleaning out your office or signing up to a fitness program may be worth a dinner out.

6. Create accountability: Enlist a support team, an accountability partner or just a plain old “nag-buddy”.

7. Take the first step forward today: Yes, do something as soon as you can (before you come up with another excuse!) The longer you delay, the harder it will be to step into action.


Margie Warrell is a bestselling author, Forbes columnist, master certified coach and the founder of women’s leadership organisation Global Courage. She is also a regular contributor on Sunrise and the mother of four rowdy kids. For more information about her, see www.margiewarrell.com

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