This column will change your life: Pro-active procrastination | Life and style | The Guardian - Deepstash
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Why we procrastinate

Real procrastination, which afflicts an estimated 20% of us, isn't the same as laziness, being disorganised, or putting off boring chores.

It's an active avoidance strategy, and because it's usually rooted in the fear of failure, or success, or loss of control, it most affects exactly those things that really matter to us, not the chores.


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Motivation follows action

Books on "getting motivated" ironically compound the problem by reinforcing the idea that you need to feel positive about doing something before you begin it.

What if you dropped the requirement of feeling good, accepted that you felt bad and just started anyway? Motivation usually shows up quickly thereafter. (See the work of psychologist Shoma Morita at


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Resistance is a sign

Resisting a task is usually a sign that it's meaningful - which is why it's awakening your fears and stimulating procrastination.

You could adopt "Do whatever you're resisting the most" as a philosophy of life.

As Steven Pressfield says in his book The War Of Art , "The more important [something] is to our soul's evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."


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Schedule leisure, not work

In his book The Now Habit, Neil Fiore suggests keeping an "Unschedule " - a time log on which you make plans for leisure activities but on which you record hours of work only after you've finished them.

If you plan in advance to do x hours of work in a day, anything less becomes a failure; if you make no such plans, every minute worked counts as a success.


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