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Experts say yes, you can break the cycle of procrastination — once you understand the cycle.


Are you a genuine procrastinator?

What is the difference between someone who is just relaxed or has a different sense of priority, and a true procrastinator?

In their book, Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It Now, authors Jane Burka, PhD and Lenora Yuen, PhD, give us the seven elements of the cycle of procrastination.

Think about a project you have been engaged in recently.

Does this sound like you?

  1. I’ll start early this time — procrastinators are hopeful that this time they will do the project in a sensible and systematic way, even though they are unable or unwilling to start now.
  2. I’ve got to start soon. Because the time for the hoped-for early start has already come and gone. And illusions of doing the project systematically this time are beginning to fade.
  3. But what if I don’t start? Because there is a growing sense of foreboding. And visions of horrible consequences that will derail your life forever beginning to form.
  4. There’s still time. And you begin the fairy tale illusion that even though it’s getting late, you can still do it. And you make attempts at optimism.
  5. Is there something wrong with me? Because now you’re starting to get desperate. Shame, guilt and suffering didn’t work. So suddenly you start to think “It’s me. Because there’s got to be something wrong with me.”
  6. “Crap.” And you begin to think of abandoning the sinking ship. Because there are two paths now: Not To Do It. Or — On To The Bitter End.
  7. “I’ll never procrastinate again!” So this is when you have either abandoned the project or finished it somehow. And you collapse in a state of relief and exhaustion — and become convinced that you will never do this again — until next time.

So — If this cycle sounds familiar, then you may be a genuine procrastinator.

How to break the cycle.

Start here: Funny, and under 15 minutes.