How to Overcome Procrastination – 2 Ways

Your best friend, procrastination.

“What!” you say, “My best friend, how could you say that?” The reason procrastination is your best friend is because it’s on the teetering edge of motivation.

Let me explain.

For a behavior to be classified as procrastination, it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying. Here are some other examples you may be familiar with:

  • putting off an important decision
  • leaving a critical task undone
  • becoming counterproductive and keeping “busy” on needless work

To start behaving this way it takes real mastery. You’ve got to learn how to procrastinate – it doesn’t just happen.  You’ve got to use your physiology, create the right emotions and get it all working perfectly and in the right sequence.

And when you get really good at it so you can do it without thinking…. then you’ve really mastered it.  What an accomplishment!!

Most people don’t look at it this way. They think procrastination is a negative thing, but what they don’t realize is that you learned this behavior.  If you can learn how to procrastinate and do it well, then you can just as easily learn how to become motivated.

You see, all you’re creating is a result.  You’re teaching yourself how to get motivated or how to procrastinate.  To get really good at procrastination you had to learn how to use your emotions because your emotions are what drive your behavior.

Here are 2 ways to overcome procrastination:

#1. Eliminate Fear

You see, you’ve got these emotions pulling you back and forth. It’s like an internal tug of war.  Some days you’re good and others days – not so good.   Positive emotions can pull you towards what you want and negative emotions can push you away.

In a sense, procrastination is a form of self-sabotage. If negative emotions are pushing away the important then your negative emotions must be stronger than your positive emotions to pull you towards – and that fear is winning the tug of war.

If you want to eliminate procrastination, then eliminate your fear.   Just ask yourself: Are you pushing away the things you want?   And if you are, are you pushing them away because of your fear of success or a fear of failure?

Once you get clear on what’s stopping you, you can reframe those fears and empower yourself to take action.

#2. Cultivate Desire

Remember, emotions govern your behavior.   Fear pushes you away from what you want and desire pulls it towards you.

Someone once asked me, “Why did you get into coaching?” I thought about it and said, “Because I have an overwhelming desire to do it.”   It’s not an overly complicated answer, but here’s my point.

Your emotions are what drive your behavior.   If you keep putting something off, then you don’t have a burning desire to do it.   No desire = no action.

So, how do you cultivate desire?

You start with the end in mind.   How will things look when they’re all done?   What will you see and how will you feel?

If you can associate strong emotions with the end result, you can cultivate a burning desire.   Then watch how fast you jump into action.

To learn more about this topic, download my book here:  How to Get Motivated in 7 Minutes or Less


  • mary rettig

    Reply Reply November 19, 2009

    It is a different view point then I am used to but I like it.

  • George

    Reply Reply November 20, 2009

    Good stuff and it goes deeper to your internal scripting. Fear is the result, the scripting is the cause. It sounds like your coaching attacks the scripting.

    I also have a software program that “prevents procrastination” when it comes to training and educational programs at

    I’d like to learn more but I’ll ask tomorrow…haha

  • Frank Vavpotic

    Reply Reply November 20, 2009

    “Eliminating fear… Cultivating desire… Overwhelming desire to do it ” add to the above the vision to both see the outcome. Simple, but rocks!

  • Loren Fogelman

    Reply Reply November 20, 2009

    Procrastination is something I help clients work through all the time. It is definitely about avoidance and, as you mentioned, typically based upon fear. I agree that the obstacles to taking action can be transformed. A small change in perception can make the difference between avoidance and action.

  • nburman

    Reply Reply November 23, 2009

    Brilliant. Possibly the best article I’ve read on motivation and procrastination. I’ve been a long time expert in procrastinating, and possibly learned it as a child when I was told to cut the grass, clean my room, walk the dog, and so on. It certainly helps avoid confrontation and is a more passive form of rebellion.
    If I see procrastination as the same response as a petulant child saying NO and stomping a foot, then I’m sure I would eliminate it all together.
    Thanks for the article.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply November 23, 2009

    Thanks nburman,

    It’s great to hear you found some value in it :)

  • Judi Owens

    Reply Reply November 30, 2009

    I loved this article. I am a big procrastinator and was wondering why I seemed to have no motivation. This helped big time. Thanks!

  • Mangesh Jadhav

    Reply Reply December 3, 2009

    We all do this knowingly or un-knowingly, its just that we don’t realize. Thanks for making us realize this.

  • Josiah Mason

    Reply Reply October 11, 2013

    Appreciate the recommendation. Will ttry it out.

  • Ayden Nguyen

    Reply Reply October 17, 2013

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

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