Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When the deadline is far away, I start procrastinating, not by not doing it, but by doing slowly; it is not by intention. I observe it by how it is always near the deadline when I get things finished. Another situation is when I set a time table; I always used time longer than I originally allocated.

How can I overcome this?

share|improve this question
There's plenty of similar questions. You should start by looking at GTD and the Pomodoro Technique. – Muz Mar 2 '13 at 4:52

Set intermediate deadlines for parts of your project that are much sooner. That's the overall generic answer.

A more complete answer is to look at fully managing your personal productivity. There are a number of systems that are well defined, including Getting Things Done (GTD), Pomodoro Technique, Do It Now, just to name a few to get you started. I personally use GTD, with some intermittent Pomodoro, and I'm quite happy with how these systems help me make better choices about what to get done and when.

share|improve this answer

Another situation is when I set a time table; I always used time longer than I originally allocated.

I understand this as "I think I will need X minutes to complete task Y, but instead need e.g. double the time". I think here this is a matter of practice. Planning ahead and creating a realistic timetable will get easier each time IMO.

I start procrastinating, not by not doing it, but by doing slowly

I think you are already on the right track if you make a timetable. If you e.g. have to hand in a paper 4 weeks from now, then you could do a timetable on a week basis, like 1 week for research, 1 week drafting and 1 week finishing. Then add a "buffer time" of 1 week. Then break down the research into work units for that first week and so on.

I found the book "The Procrastinator's Digest" to be a short, but helpful primer of causes and strategies about procrastination. The ebook is available for a reasonable price.

share|improve this answer

By far the best thing for me has been to set very small goals for each day. Like "Write for 5 minutes" - use some sort of system to track it, and then commit to the tiny goal no matter what. And even think that it can be terrible work that you throw away - but just get in the habit of doing something, anything, regularly.

Most of the time I end up writing (or doing whatever) for longer than the 5 minutes - once I get over the hurdle of sitting down and starting, most things are pretty easy, it's that initial hurdle that is so hard to get over.

share|improve this answer

One thing that's contributed to my intermittent and drawn out procrastination in projects with non-immediate deadlines is when I arrive at a portion of the work that I find less interesting or even distasteful.

In those circumstances I've found that principles Brian Tracy espouses in Eat That Frog have been helpful to me in changing my perspective and taking action that keeps me from closing in on the deadline without getting the work done.

I also outline my work at the start of the work week, scheduling time to each task/project. I review my daily plan and get notifications throughout the day via Outlook to try and keep me on-task. At the end of each day I review my calender to see where I deviated. If I need to adjust the next day's schedule I can based on the relative priorities. In this way I tend to adjust priorities of items up as I fail to meet my short-term goals (thus helping me not arrive at the deadline without the work complete).

share|improve this answer

Stick to your planning and reward yourself when you do. Build in your planning also moments that you can skip whatever you had planned so you can really enjoy procrastinating sometimes to the fullest and not feel guilty. Hope this helps

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.