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Dealing with Procrastination

A coaching exercise for procrastination taken from the downloadable book
available at: Life Coaching Exercises

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is sometimes defined as::

"The art of putting off until tomorrow what you can do today."

We have all been there at some point in our lives or another. When you:

From time to time we all put off doing things and this may make us feel guilty because we know we are not doing something that we really should or want to do. Although our actions in these instances may seem to be irrational to us, they usually have some sort of short term pay-off to them. One of the most useful tips for dealing with procrastination is to work out what pay-offs you are getting from postponing the action and then seek to address them.

It may be that rather than focus on trying to cure procrastination or avoid procrastination altogether you will find it more helpful to analyse your thought processes and think about how you can manage and deal with your procrastination using pragmatic, cognitive or CBT based techniques:

Procrastination Exercise

In this exercise I ask you to identify the actions that you are putting off, to reflect honestly on what the short term pay-offs for each action are and then to think about possible things you can say to yourself in this situation to help you to carry out the action despite the short term pay-off from not doing so.

For example, if you are putting off talking to someone about difficulties in a relationship because of the short term pay-off of avoiding immediate confrontation, you might remind yourself that in the longer term it is likely to be better to discuss the situation, or remind yourself that if you don’t do so then you are likely to have lots of unvoiced negative feelings towards each other which may lead to even more arguments or awkward silence.

Procrastination Table

What is the action you are putting off?

Describe the situation when you are tempted to put off the action


What are the pay-offs of putting off the action?

What can you say to yourself in this situation to help you to complete the action?
(List possibilities)























Once you have completed the list of what you can say to yourself, select the statements that are most likely to help to encourage you to act and use them when the situation arises again to motivate yourself.


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