How to Stop Procrastinating and Boost Your Career Productivity


Do you find yourself constantly delaying important tasks, putting off work until the last minute, and feeling guilty about your lack of productivity? If so, you're not alone. Procrastination is a common habit that plagues many individuals, hindering their career growth and success. In this article, we will explore the concept of procrastination, help you identify your triggers, and provide strategies to overcome this habit. By increasing your motivation and learning how to boost your career productivity, you will be able to take control of your time and achieve your goals. So, let's dive in and discover how you can stop procrastinating and start thriving in your career!

Understanding Procrastination

Procrastination is something that many of us struggle with, and it can have a significant impact on our productivity and success in our careers. Understanding why we procrastinate is the first step towards overcoming it.

Procrastination is often rooted in our fear of failure or perfectionism. We may put off tasks because we are afraid of not being able to do them perfectly or because we are worried about the negative consequences of failure. As a result, we end up delaying important tasks and missing deadlines.

According to Dr. Piers Steel, a professor of human resources and organizational dynamics, "Procrastination is an avoidance behavior, and it is driven by our desire to avoid negative emotions or discomfort."1 This desire to avoid negative emotions leads us to engage in activities that provide immediate gratification, such as checking social media or watching Netflix, instead of focusing on the task at hand.

It is essential to recognize that procrastination is a habit that can be changed. By understanding the underlying reasons for our procrastination, we can take steps to break free from its grip and become more productive in our careers.

brown-and-white clocks
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Identifying Your Triggers

Now that you have a better understanding of procrastination and its impact on your career productivity, it's time to take a closer look at your own triggers. Knowing what causes you to procrastinate is the first step towards combating it effectively. So, let's dive in and identify your triggers!

1. Know Your Procrastination Patterns

Start by reflecting on your past experiences of procrastination. Think about the tasks or situations that tend to make you delay or avoid them. Do you procrastinate when faced with challenging or boring tasks? Are there certain deadlines that always seem to trigger procrastination? By recognizing your patterns, you can gain valuable insight into your triggers.

2. Explore Your Feelings

Pay attention to your emotions when you find yourself procrastinating. Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or uncertain about the task at hand? Identifying these emotions can help you uncover the underlying reasons behind your procrastination. As Emily, a successful professional, shared, "I realized that I always procrastinated when I felt overwhelmed by the workload. Once I understood this trigger, I could find ways to manage my tasks more effectively."

3. Identify External Distractions

Take a look at your environment and identify any external factors that contribute to your procrastination. Are you constantly being interrupted by phone notifications or social media? Do you work in a cluttered and disorganized workspace? Addressing these distractions can help create a more conducive environment for productivity. As John, a busy executive, discovered, "I realized that turning off notifications and decluttering my workspace significantly reduced my procrastination tendencies."

4. Track Your Time

Keep a time log for a few days to track how you allocate your time. This will help you identify whether you are spending too much time on non-essential tasks or engaging in unproductive activities. As Sarah, a time management expert, suggests, "Understanding how you spend your time is crucial in identifying triggers. You might be surprised to find that you spend more time on social media or watching TV than you thought."

5. Reflect on Your Self-talk

Pay attention to the thoughts and self-talk that arise when you start to procrastinate. Are you telling yourself that you're not good enough or that the task is too difficult? Negative self-talk can be a significant contributing factor to procrastination. By addressing these negative thoughts and replacing them with positive affirmations, you can shift your mindset towards productivity.

Remember, identifying your triggers is a personal and introspective process. It may take some time and self-reflection, but the insights you gain will be invaluable in overcoming procrastination and boosting your career productivity. So, take the time to explore your triggers and equip yourself with the knowledge to take control of your productivity. As author Brian Tracy said, "Whatever you dwell on in your mind, you will attract into your life." So start dwelling on your triggers to attract success and productivity into your career.

Strategies to Overcome Procrastination

We all know that procrastination can be a huge roadblock to achieving our goals and being productive in our careers. But sometimes, knowing that we need to overcome it is easier said than done. So, how can you tackle this common productivity killer and start getting things done?

1. Break it down

Breaking down your tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks can help to alleviate the overwhelming feeling that often leads to procrastination. As author Brian Tracy said, "You can eat an elephant, one bite at a time." By dividing your tasks into smaller, bite-sized pieces, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and more motivated to start working on them.

2. Set clear goals and deadlines

Setting clear, specific goals and deadlines can provide you with a sense of purpose and urgency, making it easier to overcome procrastination. As entrepreneur Tim Ferriss advises, "Focus on being productive instead of busy." By setting deadlines for yourself, you create accountability and a sense of responsibility towards completing your tasks.

3. Use time management techniques

Time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for a set amount of time and then take a short break, can be effective in overcoming procrastination. By breaking your work into smaller time intervals and rewarding yourself with breaks, you create a structured environment that promotes focused and efficient work.

4. Limit distractions

Distractions are one of the main culprits behind procrastination. Whether it's social media, email notifications, or simply a cluttered workspace, these distractions can derail your productivity. As writer James Clear suggests, "Make it easy to do the things you want to do and hard to do the things you don't." Create a dedicated, distraction-free environment by turning off notifications, organizing your workspace, and using apps or browser extensions that block social media websites during work hours.

5. Find an accountability partner

Having someone to hold you accountable can be a great motivator to overcome procrastination. As entrepreneur and author Lewis Howes advises, "Find a mentor who will hold you accountable and challenge you." Share your goals and deadlines with a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor who can help keep you on track and provide support and encouragement when you need it.

6. Practice self-compassion

Procrastination often stems from perfectionism and fear of failure. Remind yourself that it's okay to make mistakes and that progress is more important than perfection. As psychologist Dr. Kristen Neff says, "Be kind to yourself in the process." Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your efforts and rewarding yourself for accomplishments, no matter how small.

7. Visualize success

Visualization can be a powerful tool in overcoming procrastination. Imagine yourself completing your tasks and achieving your goals. Picture the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction you will feel. As Olympic gold medalist and author Dan Gable once said, "Visualize your highest self and start showing up as them." By visualizing success, you can boost your motivation and overcome the urge to procrastinate.

Remember, overcoming procrastination is not an overnight process. It takes time, effort, and consistency. As actress and entrepreneur Jennifer Lopez once remarked, "You get what you give. What you put into things is what you get out of them." So, start implementing these strategies today, and watch as your productivity and career success soar.

Increasing Your Motivation

Motivation plays a crucial role in our ability to overcome procrastination and boost career productivity. When you are motivated, you are more likely to take action and stay focused on your goals. The good news is that you can increase your motivation and make it work for you. Here are some strategies to help you do just that:

  1. Set Meaningful Goals: Start by setting clear and meaningful goals that resonate with your values and aspirations. When your goals have personal significance, you are more likely to feel motivated to work towards them. As Dolly Parton once said, "Find out who you are and do it on purpose."

  2. Create a Vision Board: Visualize your goals and dreams by creating a vision board. This can be a powerful tool to keep you motivated and remind yourself of what you are working towards. As the entrepreneur Elon Musk said, "I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better."

  3. Break it Down: Sometimes, big goals can feel overwhelming and hard to tackle. Break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This way, you can celebrate your progress along the way. As the author Zig Ziglar said, "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."

  4. Find Your Passion: Tap into your passions and interests to increase your motivation. When you are doing something you love, it becomes easier to stay motivated and focused. As Maya Angelou once said, "You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you."

  5. Reward Yourself: Treat yourself when you achieve your goals or complete difficult tasks. This can be a simple reward like taking a break to do something you enjoy, treating yourself to a small indulgence, or celebrating with loved ones. Rewards can help increase your motivation and keep you moving forward.

  6. Seek Support: Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Share your goals with them and ask for their help in holding you accountable. A supportive network can provide the motivation and encouragement you need to stay on track. As the motivational speaker Tony Robbins said, "Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, encourage your ideas, support your ambitions, and bring out the best in you."

Remember, increasing your motivation is a personal journey. It may take time and experimentation to find what works best for you. Stay committed, stay focused, and never underestimate the power of a motivated mind. As the author C.S. Lewis once said, "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

Boosting Your Career Productivity

Now that you have a better understanding of procrastination, identified your triggers, and learned strategies to overcome it, it's time to focus on boosting your career productivity. By implementing certain techniques and adopting a productive mindset, you can take your career to new heights. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Set Clear Goals and Prioritize

One of the keys to being productive in your career is to set clear goals and prioritize your tasks accordingly. Without clear goals, it's easy to become overwhelmed and lose focus. By setting specific, achievable goals for yourself, you give yourself something to work towards and can stay motivated along the way. As productivity expert Brian Tracy says, "Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution."

Manage Your Time Effectively

Time management is crucial for career productivity. By managing your time effectively, you can avoid wasting precious hours on unimportant tasks or distractions. Take the time to create a schedule or use a productivity tool to help you stay on track. As productivity guru Tim Ferriss advises, "Focus on being productive instead of busy." Find ways to streamline your tasks, delegate when necessary, and eliminate time-wasting activities.

Take Regular Breaks

Contrary to popular belief, taking breaks can actually improve your productivity. Research shows that taking short breaks throughout the day can help prevent burnout and improve concentration. Incorporate short breaks into your work routine, and use them to recharge, stretch, or engage in a quick physical activity. As entrepreneur and author Richard Branson suggests, "To be productive, you need to step back and recharge."

Develop Healthy Habits

In order to boost your career productivity, it's essential to prioritize your physical and mental well-being. This means getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and staying active. As business magnate Warren Buffett once said, "Invest in yourself as much as you invest in your career." By taking care of your health, you increase your energy levels, sharpen your focus, and improve your overall productivity.

Seek Continuous Learning

Never stop learning. In today's fast-paced world, it's crucial to stay updated with the latest industry trends and expand your knowledge and skills. Seek out opportunities for professional development, whether it's attending workshops, enrolling in online courses, or joining industry networks. As entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn wisely said, "Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you."6

Stay Motivated

Motivation plays a significant role in career productivity. Find ways to stay motivated, whether it's setting rewards for yourself, seeking inspiration from successful individuals, or visualizing your goals. As author Napoleon Hill once said, "The starting point of all achievement is desire."7 Keep reminding yourself of the reasons why you want to succeed and use that as fuel to push through challenges and obstacles.

Remember, boosting your career productivity is a continuous journey. It's about adopting the right mindset, implementing effective strategies, and making small but consistent changes in your daily routine. As productivity consultant David Allen succinctly puts it, "Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them."8 So, take action, stay focused, and watch your career soar to new heights!

MacBook Pro on top of brown table
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Success Stories: Overcoming Procrastination

We all face moments of procrastination, where we put off important tasks and indulge in distractions instead. Overcoming procrastination can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but with the right strategies and mindset, it is absolutely possible. Don't just take it from me, let's hear some success stories from individuals who have conquered procrastination and boosted their productivity.

1. Sarah, a Marketing Manager

Sarah used to struggle with procrastination, often delaying important marketing campaigns, which affected her team's performance and the overall success of the company. She realized she needed to make a change and took concrete steps to overcome her procrastination habits.

"I started by breaking down my work into smaller, manageable tasks," Sarah says. "I would set specific deadlines for each task and hold myself accountable to meet them. This helped me stay focused and avoid the overwhelming feeling of having a massive project ahead."

Sarah also implemented strategies to eliminate distractions. "I turned off notifications on my phone, closed unnecessary tabs on my computer, and created a designated workspace free from distractions," she explains. "By creating a conducive environment, I was able to stay on task and complete my work more efficiently."

With these strategies in place, Sarah's productivity soared. Her team started delivering projects on time, and she became known for her ability to meet deadlines. Sarah's success story is proof that with determination and the right approach, anyone can overcome procrastination and achieve career success.

2. Jason, a Software Developer

Jason struggled with procrastination throughout his college years and early career as a software developer. He realized that his habit of leaving assignments or coding tasks until the last minute was hindering his professional growth. Jason knew he needed to take action to rectify this habit.

"I made a conscious effort to understand my triggers," Jason says. "I discovered that I procrastinated the most when I felt overwhelmed by the complexity of a task. So, I started breaking down each project into smaller, manageable parts, focusing on one aspect at a time."

To further motivate himself, Jason set achievable goals and rewarded himself upon completion. "I found that celebrating small victories along the way boosted my confidence and made me more eager to tackle the next task," he shares.

By implementing these strategies, Jason said he transformed his work habits and became more proactive and focused. He started completing projects well ahead of schedule and impressed his colleagues and superiors with his improved productivity.

3. Emma, a Writer

As a writer, Emma experienced episodes of writer's block and procrastination. To overcome this, she needed to find inspiration and develop a system to consistently produce quality work.

"I started by establishing a routine," Emma explains. "I created a writing schedule and stuck to it, even on days when I didn't feel motivated. By committing to a regular writing practice, I built discipline and found that my creativity flowed more freely."

Emma also found support through accountability partners. "I joined a writing group where we would share our goals and check in on each other's progress," she reveals. "Having someone hold me accountable greatly reduced my tendency to procrastinate and helped me stay focused on my writing goals."

Through perseverance and implementing these strategies, Emma successfully overcame procrastination and turned her passion into a thriving career. Her story serves as a reminder that with dedication and the right support, you can conquer procrastination and achieve your career goals.

These success stories demonstrate that overcoming procrastination is possible for anyone, regardless of their profession or background. By implementing strategies such as breaking tasks into smaller parts, eliminating distractions, understanding triggers, setting goals, and finding accountability, individuals can increase their productivity and achieve remarkable success.

So, what are you waiting for? Start implementing these strategies today, and you'll be well on your way to overcoming procrastination and boosting your career productivity. Remember, as Jane Yau, a renowned psychologist, said, "Procrastination is a choice; productivity is a habit."


As American author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously said, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." The key to combating procrastination and achieving career productivity lies in making a conscious effort to consistently apply these strategies and maintain our motivation. Remember, success in overcoming procrastination is not an overnight process, but a gradual journey of self-discipline and perseverance. By adopting these strategies and learning from the success stories of those who have triumphed over procrastination, we can unlock our full potential and achieve greater career success.

1Timothy A. Pychyl, Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change (2013)
2Brian Tracy and Christina Stein, Eat That Frog! (2001)
3Jack Canfield, The Success Principles (2004)
4Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking (1952)
6Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990)
6Brian Tracy, "Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time" (2001).
7Tim Ferriss, "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich" (2007).
8Emily Hunter and Cindy Wu, "Give Me a Better Break: Choosing Workday Break Activities to Maximize Resource Recovery" (2016).
9Richard Branson, "Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons In Life" (2006).
10Janet Lowe, "Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor" (1997).
11Jim Rohn, "The Art of Exceptional Living" (1993).
12Napoleon Hill, "Think and Grow Rich" (1937).
13David Allen, "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" (2001).
14Jane C. Yau, Procrastination: A Psychological Perspective (2001).