A critical step to beating procrastination and strengthening your focus

I’ve never met anyone who wants some motivational hype on how to watch TV, how to procrastinate, or how to eat something they love.

Most people want real strategies to help them succeed with goals linked to health, wealth, work-life balance, career success, business visibility, confidence and public speaking, or finding joy.

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What is procrastination and why is it crucial to discuss it?

Procrastination is the act of putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time. Have you ever found yourself so close to achieving a goal, only to throw it all away at the last moment?

Sometimes we have very good excuses for postponing actions. It could be looking for the perfect moment, the right timing, the exact atmosphere etc. Let’s face it, this perfect moment may never come and before you know it, time is gone.

Procrastination is the mother of stagnation and it can lead to a life of frustration Click To Tweet

We all procrastinate, and we’re all capable of procrastinating. You know that feeling when you wake up feeling super energized and ready to finish that project but barely one hour later you decide you’re going to do it tomorrow. Then, the cycle repeats itself till life events take over and the dream gets swept under the carpet.

Yet, we all are capable to beat procrastination. Procrastination is the mother of stagnation and not mastering it can lead to a life of frustration and insignificance.

What makes you procrastinate when instead of getting the right things done at the right time could make you happy and multiply the time you have?

Is it a matter of habitual laziness? Is it that you don’t realize what’s really at stake? Could it be that you give yourself the permission to carry things over or let others decide for you?

Understanding the root cause of your behavior is the first step to finding the solution. To make the shift from procrastinating to taking action, you must raise your self-awareness about whats going on around you, then be honest about what is really working for you and what is not working for you.

You make commitments every day and these commitments either inspire or expire you. Watching TV instead of studying is a commitment. Sleeping instead of working on your business plan is a commitment.

Every action you have committed has consequences, whether good or bad.

Commitment —————> Action —————> Results

When bad things happen to you, blaming others for every is a choice you have chosen to manifest. The same way, if you decide right now to begin to make small changes to turn your life around in the direction you really desire, that’s a commitment I encourage.

The more risk-averse and fearful you are, the more likely you are to procrastinate and delay the happiness you could enjoy in your life.

If you could change one thing, today, to maximize your time and optimize your life, what would it be? For a simple 5-step guide, download my free Ebook – Stop Wishing, Start Doing.

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How to stop procrastinating using ‘temptation bundling’

Procrastination is like a credit bill: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill Click To Tweet

Does this scenario sound familiar? You wake up in the morning, pump your fist in the air and tell yourself that today you will finally go to the gym and exercise.

As the day goes on, you’re losing energy and willpower from work demands and other activities. By the time you get home from work, you’re exhausted the last thing on your mind is to exercise.

Then, just like every other day, you curl up on the couch read a book and watch your favourite TV show. It’s been several months since you had your New Year’s resolution to get in shape, but you’re still procrastinating on it.

Luckily, there is a simple, effective strategy you can use right now to stop procrastinating and start taking action to achieve your goals.

You’re not alone

Katy Milkman, Associate Professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, had a similar struggle in overcoming procrastination. In an episode of Freakonomics, she talks about this strategy:

“I struggle at the end of a long day to get myself to the gym even though I know that I should go. And at the end of a long day, I also struggle with the desire to watch my favourite TV shows instead of getting work done.

And so I actually realized that those two temptations, those two struggles I faced, could be combined to solve both problems.”

To combat her chronic procrastination, Katy simply combined her guilty pleasure of watching her favourite TV show with her long-term goal of losing weight.

She would only allow herself to read ‘The Hunger Games’ book when she went to the gym. Her strategy worked very well, Katy soon started going to the gym regularly soon after.

This simple technique of combining things that make you feel good now with something that is good for you in the long-run is called ‘temptation bundling’.

Temptation bundling

Essentially, you bundle behaviours you are tempted to do with behaviours that you ‘should’ be doing.

Temptation bundling has been formally tested in a study done on the exercise habits of 226 students from the University Of Pennsylvania. During the experiment, students were only allowed to listen to their favourite audio books if they went to the gym to exercise

The result: students who applied the temptation bundling strategy were close to 51% more likely to exercise than the control group. (Full study, PDF)

How to (finally) stop procrastinating using this research-backed strategy Click To Tweet

How to use temptation bundling to stop procrastinating

Here’s a simple exercise to put all of this into action.

Draw two columns on a piece of paper.

  1. In column one, write down the activities that you’ve been procrastinating on doing.
  2. In column two, write down your guilty pleasures that give you that feeling of instant gratification.

Now you can simply criss-cross across both columns to match what you ‘should’ be doing with what you ‘want’ to do.

For example, whilst writing this article, I’m also listening to my favourite music and podcasts. I’ve also used a similar technique to maintain a regular exercise routine for over five years.

Here are some examples that may help:

  • I will only listen to my favourite music when I exercise.
  • I will only watch my favourite show when I work on my writing project.
  • I will only get a pedicure when I catch up on my backlog of emails.


“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”
– Michelle Obama

Temptation bundling is one of many strategies that will help you stop procrastinating and take action. Most importantly, it kick-starts a new habit by helping you to do more of the things you should be doing and not just things you want to do.

By combining your guilty pleasures with your long-term goals, you can begin to build healthy habits that will transform your life.

Three hacks to help you beat procrastination

Serial procrastinator? You'll need these 3 hacks to help you out when procrastination hits Click To Tweet

We’ve all had those days. Ones where we just can’t seem to get our fingers moving on our keyboards or can’t find the words for that e-mail.

Here are three hacks to helping you save time when procrastination hits.

tumblr_inline_mr2ursk2Ls1qz4rgpgif1. Create keyboard shortcuts

Spent all morning procrastinating? Save time by creating shortcuts when texting on your Samsung phone. Use a text snippet expander like the TextExpander custom keyboard to reduce time when sending those bulk e-mails.

What’s the tick? Set up shorthand to stand in for a longer text. For example, if you text “eml” your full personal email address would appear. Always signing off with the same sentences? Cut out all that time by setting up a snippet.

2. Scanning business cards and receipts

Make up for the time spent procrastinating by scanning your business cards, instead of manually inputting them into your Samsung phone.

Save the time you spend cleaning out those nasty receipts from the bottom of your purse and the time you would spend scanning and filing them. ScanBizCards is an app from the Galaxy Apps store that lets you scan business cards on the spot.

3. Download work-related podcasts

That procrastination time might as well be well spent. If you’re not going to type that e-mail, then you might as well be retaining some skills to keep you in the hustle.

Use your off time to listen to business-related podcasts. Take your time to listen to a few and then pick your favourite; listen to it while you’re scrolling through Instagram or taking that 3:00pm snack break.

We recommend the 500 Startups podcast; it’s filled with stories and lessons from entrepreneurs who have made that side hustle their full time hustle.

Keep these three tricks in hand to make up for yesterday’s binge watch of Big Little Lies.


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Procrastination: The bad, the ugly, and how to deal with It

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You can't be a #MotherlandMogul if you're a serial procrastinator, time to break free Click To Tweet

Do you always apologize for delayed work? Do you feel guilty that you missed the deadline again, for the umpteenth time? And if you did finish the work, it was at the last minute after scrambling with time?

Well, let’s cut to the chase. You are a serial procrastinator who pushes the production of any work forward to the next day, next week, next month, next year and eventually to never, instead of pulling it forward. For that reason, procrastination is the opposite of productivity.url

Many people are procrastinators, and they do not even know it. Sometimes procrastination can be good. For example, I sometimes have to push forward writing an article because I just don’t have the right word or phrase to start the piece. But once I get the inspiration, I embark on writing and occasionally, I have to type it while on my toes.

Do you really need to procrastinate?

If you can’t push forward looking good before going out for a date, you shouldn’t hold back writing that proposal that you have been sitting on for the past three months. Today is the time!

To make sense of procrastination, its effects and how to deal with it, I caught up with Ken Munyua, a business support and training manager at Talent Recruit Limited in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to Mr. Munyua, who is also a psychologist, “Procrastination is the inability to undertake urgent duties with the haste they deserve.” He adds that it could be as a result of a habit — “choosing not to take things seriously and execute them promptly, which later turns into bad behaviour.”

“Procrastination is both a behavioural and a psychological issue. It starts as a habit and turns to uncontrollable aspects.”

Extensive inactive procrastination can also contribute to lowering one’s self-esteem Click To Tweet


Apart from degenerating into bad behaviour, extensive inactive procrastination can also contribute to lowering one’s self-esteem. How, you ask?

Munyua notes that the inability to perform necessary tasks always leads one to be in problem be it in school, at home or in business. “The constant reminder and backlash from the seniors make one feel as if they are victimized or segregated from the others.”

What’s more, this can cause you to loathe yourself for not being able to meet individual or collective goals on time.

No one wants to feel less of a person for always being late in doing something, and when one does, they may feel unwanted or unloved, leading to a downward trend of one’s self-esteem.

Many women in business are caught up in the procrastination web due to a few reasons. Munyua outlined three major reasons why procrastination is common:

  1. The wish to be perfect: Some people wait to do work to its best. At the end, they do it in a hurry to the point of not delivering it well.
  2. Poor planning: Some business women like to plan work in terms of urgency and importance. Thus, there are delays on the important aspects of work.
  3. Others are easily swayed away by distractors.
@MaureenMurori sought expert help in this article on overcoming procrastination Click To Tweet

How to overcome procrastination

“A habit which grows over time becomes a bad addiction. Do not form it; learn to concentrate on what is your task before any other duty,” advises Munyua. He adds that people should learn to avoid distractions, be they human or technological.

  1. Avoid delays: Always live to do what is expected now and not tomorrow!
  2. Draw a plan: It is advisable to set priorities and consider the urgency of the work.
  3. Write it down on paper: When it is written on paper, work becomes real and demands commitment.
  4. Set personal deadlines before the stipulated ones. This ensures that you are always ahead.
  5. Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself for achieved goals, motivates you to work harder to achieve more in future. Rewards can be as trivial as ticking an achieved activity, to a chocolate bar or a holiday in Hawaii. The choice is yours.
  6. Avoid distractions like social media, and friends who do not share in your vision.
  7. Endeavour to learn from those who had the same issues and were able to resolve them.

When all is said and done, procrastination can be a symptom of an underlying technical or moral failure. It is important to check and recheck why you need to push work forward.

Could it be due to the fact that the work isn’t working for you? If so, you should plan to change the work or your approach to it.