How to overcome procrastination

Procrastination isn’t laziness and the two shouldn’t be confused. Whether we’re aware of it or not, there is always a reason for and a potential benefit to everything we do (and don’t do).


By avoiding a task or project we are probably ‘saving ourselves’ from something; procrastination is frequently a protection strategy. We may or may not know why we put things off. Sometimes the reason is obvious and sometimes it is hidden in our subconscious.

We may have deep-seated beliefs about our ability or lack of it. We may fear failure and the perceived humiliation that it could bring. We may be perfectionists and don’t want to do anything unless we feel it will be perfect. I prefer to call people such as this ‘imperfectionists’ because they are always looking for the mistakes or imperfections!

If you are someone who needs to get everything just right all the time, life is going to be tough and, whilst a desire for perfection can drive us to study hard and achieve great things, it can also be incapacitating. Tasks that take us outside our comfort zone may be considered ‘high risk’ and too emotionally stressful to contemplate; avoidance is safer.

If we don’t feel confident that we can do very well at something, the temptation may be to steer well clear of it and justify this avoidance by telling ourselves (or others) that ‘it’s not my kind of thing’. If we have low self-esteem we may instead say: ‘I’m rubbish at things like that’.

Avoiding challenges prevents us from failing, but we will also miss out on opportunities to grow personally or professionally.

This can be frustrating and could impact on our self-esteem and emotional well-being.

What can be done to stop procrastination?

Well, as individuals we can explore any underlying fears which may be behind our inaction or the benefit derived from it. When we discover this, we can take deliberate steps to get moving on our goals. If that proves to be difficult, a therapist could help.

Hypnotherapists often see clients wanting help to overcome procrastination. Uncovering the underlying reasons for procrastination is often part of the process and this may be combined with direct suggestions given in hypnosis to

a) do things differently and

b) anticipate the rewards of the new behaviour

If you are a ‘putter-offer’ you could give hypnotherapy a try - you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 7DF
Written by Lorraine McReight, D. Hyp, DCBT, FAPHP, MNCH (acc)
Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 7DF

Lorraine McReight is an award-winning hypnotherapist with a therapy and training centre in Wimbledon, SW London. She is the principal of The London Hypnotherapy Academy and is the editor of the professional journal, Hypnoversity. She is also the development director of the NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy).

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