Procrastinate in to Action

How many times have you put things off?  I’ll do that later…..I’ll do it tomorrow……I’ll tidy my office first….I’ll just make a cup of coffee.…or a cup of tea in my case.  And let’s be honest how often do we put things off, again, and again, and again.  That would definitely have to be classified as procrastinating – defined in the Oxford Dictionary as delaying or postponing action, putting off doing something and from the Latin procrastinat- ‘deferred till the morning’.  “A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”  (Hunter S. Thompson)

How often do you procrastinate your time away and put things off to a tomorrow that never comes?  Perhaps you get into hot water by failing to pay bills on time, by not completing tasks or projects at work on time or by not preparing adequately for important exams, interviews or presentations.

Procrastinating is what we call in NLP a “stuck state”.  It’s a negative behaviour pattern that can stem from a variety of causes – fear of failure or even of success, overwhelm and a tendency to see projects as one huge whole or simply a feeling that life is too short to do a task you dislike or find boring.  But come on folks, we’re talking NLP here.  We’re not interested in the content of the problem and the ‘why’, but instead we’re interested in how you can repeat this behaviour so successfully and how to break that pattern so you take action instead.

So I thought I’d take you through my top tricks to successfully break the procrastinating cycle and inspire yourself to take action:


Kick yourself in to action by breaking the big task into smaller pieces, in other words, chunk it down.  Make sure that first step is well-defined, achievable, realistic, time-limited and you can get it moving, right now.  Check out how to test the fitness of your goals in Fitness Testing for Powerful Goals.


Start the task for just a few minutes……go on, just a few minutes…..  Psychology research shows that this is a highly effective way to beat procrastination.  If you can at least start a task then you have far more chance of completing it.  A few minutes of initial activity creates a connection with your unconscious mind and it will then refuse to rest until the job is finished.    It’s almost a kind of psychic anxiety that nags away until you finish the task and you’ll feel a surge to see it through to the end.


We all say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, so make sure if you are going to make it tomorrow, that it gets done tomorrow, rather than being put off to yet another tomorrow.  Get a flying start to the day – the evening before write down the top three things you want to get done the next morning – be that at home or work.  Put the note in a place you’ll see it as soon as you get up or get to work.  When you start the day focus only on getting those 3 things done before you start anything else.  You’ll be amazing how productive you’ll be in that first hour.

So what gets you moving and taking action instead of procrastinating? Any great advice you can share? I’d love to hear from you…

And finally the first of my 10 commandments for success: “Thou shalt not put things off, as that takes more time and energy than just getting them done in the first place!”

© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


3 responses to “Procrastinate in to Action

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