How To Kick The Procrastination Habit

It's certainly not as dramatic as some of the other problems you can have in your business ... but procrastination can really sabotage your work if you let it. If you find that your to-do list never seems to budge, try these tips:

Understand where it's coming from

A lot of people think that procrastination is just another word for laziness, but this isn't really true. It happens for all kinds of reasons, from perfectionism to anxiety to analysis paralysis to unconscious thoughts that leave you sabotaging yourself without even realising what's happening. So if there's something that you keep putting off, ask yourself, "Where is this really coming from?" When you know what's underlying the problem, then you can fix it.

Fix any negative associations

Having negative associations with actions is one of the subtlest, but most common reasons for procrastination. For instance, if you have a negative association with making sales calls, then guess what? When it comes time to make a sales call, you're suddenly going to find loads of other things that you "need" to do before you make the call.

The good news is, you can absolutely change your associations, even the really entrenched ones. You just need to create a new association with the action. Let's take the example of putting off your sales calls. Maybe you've been rejected on sales calls before, so you've formed the association that making sales calls equals rejection. And then, working on that assumption, you've been timid and anxious on other sales calls, which has led to more rejection ... which just reinforces the belief that making sales calls leads to rejection. See how it works?

But what would happen if you thought about it a different way? Maybe instead of sales calls leading to rejection, they could be opportunities to help people. If you think about it like that, suddenly the calls become much more appealing, don't they? So think about what positive associations you can make with the things you've been putting off, and use them to break the cycle of negativity. (More on this in Sasudi's Learning Zone)

Do something ... anything!

Finally, choose one thing and just do it! A lot of times we get stuck in the stasis of procrastination, but doing just one thing -- even if it's the smallest possible thing on your to-do list -- can totally shake up your energy. It's actually better to start with something small, because then you can rack up a win pretty easily, which will give you more energy to do the next thing, and so on and so on. You'll end up building momentum without even realising it!

OK, time to come clean. What's one thing that you've been procrastinating on ... and what are you going to do about it? Tell us in the comments below so we can cheer you on!

Until next time,

Leigh Ashton
Leigh Ashton> website | all articles
Hi I'm Leigh Ashton of The Sales Consultancy

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  • /data/userPictures/841F1C32-F49F-447C-BCFE-054E3791A3D1.jpgPatrice Henderson6/21/2016 8:07:49 PM
    I'm not really a procrastinator when it comes to selling but I am with many other things so making different associations for the things I don't want to do is definitely great for me to get motivated to get them done!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton6/26/2016 5:18:40 AM
    Good luck Patrice!

  • /data/userPictures/841F1C32-F49F-447C-BCFE-054E3791A3D1.jpgPatrice Henderson6/26/2016 5:44:13 PM
    Thank you!

  • /data/userPictures/E4AC17A3-249C-42F6-89FF-3F89E9F7800F.jpgJack Heaton7/6/2016 8:37:22 PM
    This was insightful and really helpful! thanks

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton7/17/2016 5:21:32 AM
    Thanks Jack - :)

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgColleen Fehm7/26/2016 10:48:14 PM
    Really great, definitely helps to think about breaking negative associations to tackle procrastination

  • /data/userPictures/A9C0468F-E25E-4BA6-8136-5823E74F02D9.jpgSurbhi Chopra7/27/2016 10:15:55 AM
    I have been procrastinating on cleaning up the database and making new marketing proposals. I plan to dedicate one hour each day to these activities so that I don't waste time when I need these to advance the sale.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton7/31/2016 6:59:16 AM
    Thanks Colleen, Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton7/31/2016 6:59:47 AM
    Good luck Surbhi, that sounds like a good plan to gain momentum... Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/BD36B0F1-9641-4B52-9FAD-5322B2AB876E.jpgKevin Mueller8/17/2016 9:25:11 AM
    Procrastinating is my bane! You touch on sales calls, for me its the fact that I hate receiving them!

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgSally Isok9/19/2016 5:42:07 PM
    The reasons for the Procrastination are:
    1. lack of motivation
    2. feeling overwhelmed
    3. Lack of self discipline
    4. not "right time"
    The case with me is that from time to time i lose the motivation, but the self discipline and responsibility takes over and puts me back on the track.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgTammra Laurent9/21/2016 9:54:06 PM
    Thank you. This article helped shed light on the basics of this challenge for me. Very insightful and well written.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton10/3/2016 3:05:42 AM
    Thanks Guys - We all have those reasons for procrastinating but with practise it's beatable!

  • /data/userPictures/EA3F7998-26A2-4607-8A6A-D3BA5239F0BA.jpgRobert Melendez11/3/2016 2:49:50 AM
    I have a negative association with working on a clients new album.
    The negative association is due to the arduous process that the client required to produce the album.
    I'm going to finish it tomorrow and be done with it!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton11/7/2016 5:33:15 AM
    Woohoo - hope you achieved that Robert!

  • /data/userPictures/DB8D500D-461C-432B-B2D9-952BFB238D43.jpgAndrew Bradford11/9/2016 11:10:55 PM
    Something that I have a hard time with since I have SO much to do that it is daunting to even start. This was definitely helpful - thanks!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton11/11/2016 3:57:31 AM
    Good to Know Andrew - Good luck with it, you're not alone. All the best. Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/959514EE-95E6-4BAE-BA91-9FBDE2162E53.jpgEdward McAlexander, CPSP11/25/2016 4:09:54 AM
    Great read!! Super helpful!

  • /data/userPictures/959514EE-95E6-4BAE-BA91-9FBDE2162E53.jpgEdward McAlexander, CPSP11/25/2016 4:17:59 AM
    Great read! Very helpful! Great comments

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton12/4/2016 3:14:14 AM
    Thanks Edward. Leigh

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgLeah Mitton1/27/2017 9:01:43 PM
    Really great article! Definitely hits the points I need to improve on in my life.

  • /data/userPictures/A4A16FDC-5DDB-4C09-A37D-F20C529820B1.jpgJulie Michel1/27/2017 9:40:27 PM
    Great and super helpful! Procrastination is always such an issue. Thanks!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton1/30/2017 7:09:53 AM
    Thank you for your lovely comments Leah & Julie...good luck. Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/852102A0-79A1-4516-B78D-6EA591889EB3.jpgJennifer Verdon2/8/2017 11:04:00 AM
    I feel like i procrastinate on amazing ideas that i have. I don't think it is because i have a negative association, i think it is because i never know how to follow through with my idea and take it to the next stage. This is why i am taking this course. This is one step closer to my goal, and i am trying not to procrastinate.

  • /data/userPictures/0038828B-F334-4093-B786-760CBC9F256E.jpgEmily Wertheim2/14/2017 3:16:26 PM
    I've been procrastinating approaching corporate level sales due to intimidation and lack of self confidence. I appreciated this encouragement to figure out where that is coming from and then do something about it!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton2/15/2017 9:14:13 AM
    Glad I could help Jennifer & Emily..good luck! Leigh :)

  • /data/userPictures/DBCE2AF9-305C-4A5B-95CE-FE587E019B3C.jpgKatharine Funke2/22/2017 4:23:35 PM
    I've been procrastinating with reaching out to the VP of sales at my company to talk about opportunities to get involved on the sales team. I respect her and her experience very much, and I think I've been procrastinating because I'm intimidated. To move forward, I'm going to email her to request a coffee or lunch meeting.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton2/28/2017 1:46:45 PM
    HI Katharine . Sorry to be late getting back in touch. How did you get on? Have you requested a coffee or lunch yet? Leigh :)

  • /data/userPictures/DBCE2AF9-305C-4A5B-95CE-FE587E019B3C.jpgKatharine Funke2/28/2017 5:37:25 PM
    Hi Leigh. Thank you for your response. Yes, I did reach out to her! We met earlier this week and it was a great conversation that may actually lead to an opportunity at my company. Great example of what can happen when you bite the bullet and stop procrastinating. Thank you, Katharine

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton3/6/2017 2:32:02 AM
    That's great news! Congratulations and good luck. Be sure to chase that potential opportunity.. Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/FDDA2016-4908-48B3-BC6E-DF0A9714913F.jpgAlfonso Hernandez, Jr.3/7/2017 10:03:59 PM
    All great points! Maintaining a positive attitude and focus really can overcome this problem that can plague anyone.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton3/14/2017 1:12:20 PM
    Thank you Alfonso :) Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/AC158606-3ACB-4C1C-A601-2B48BFA0F70F.jpgFranklin Reyes3/15/2017 7:10:38 AM
    Great article Leigh, I will keep this in mind when I have to make my cold calls.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton3/20/2017 9:09:08 AM
    Glad I could help Franklin..Leigh :)

  • /data/userPictures/D3D159FA-61F6-42C9-9AAA-D63D8BBCD6B5.jpgJennifer L Young5/9/2017 7:03:25 AM
    Wonderful Article!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton5/15/2017 2:47:32 AM
    Thank you Jennifer, my pleasure. Leigh :)

  • /data/userPictures/E394EBDD-7B52-4424-9952-D63EDC8129C3.jpgTim Jobe, Jr.7/19/2017 7:22:31 PM
    I really appreciate this insight and have found that I experience exactly what this article states. The change from rejection to looking to help completely changes my perspective. Thanks, Leigh!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton7/20/2017 4:14:06 AM
    Glad this article has helped you Tim. Thank you. Leigh :)

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPicture.jpgMargaret Pawlik8/23/2017 4:16:38 PM
    Great article, very encouraging, with practical advice.

    Thank you:)

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton8/25/2017 5:14:59 AM
    Thank you Margaret. Leigh :)

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgKayla McLendon3/15/2018 12:42:43 AM
    Very insightful! I find myself procrastinating with certain tasks and am now researching ways to get rid of the negativity I associate with that task.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton3/19/2018 7:33:48 AM
    Hi Kayla. Thank you - and well done for recognising what's holding you back. Good luck with the next stage :)

  • /data/userPictures/CBC45CD6-4846-4EC8-866F-897237754470.jpgArsenio Bell4/11/2018 11:52:04 PM
    This piece is great. Pulling the weed/problem from the root gets rid of the issue. I'm glad it advises people to look at why they procrastinate instead of just treating the symptoms or trying to offset the habit.
    Negativity makes many of us shy away from something. If we don't feel good about it, we may avoid it as long as possible - fixing that can help, and this article hits on that as well.
    This was great to read and internalize, thank you for this piece.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton4/12/2018 3:49:33 AM
    My pleasure Arsenio. All the best, Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/886C50FA-34FF-4EE8-99FA-9DF52BF94D4E.jpgDavid Walter4/25/2018 9:46:36 PM
    I'm working on fixing the negative associations I have with some aspects of my selling strategy, which will keep me more productive and focused. Great article Leigh!

  • /data/userPictures/F22A5405-880A-418B-A8C6-CF9B48CAF469.jpgSarah Payano4/25/2018 10:58:58 PM
    I have been struggling with procrastination for a long time now, especially with administrative tasks. I have never thought about the negative associations, identifying mines is something I absolutely need to do. Thanks for the article!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton5/2/2018 5:10:14 AM
    David - thanks for your comments! All the best Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton5/2/2018 5:10:35 AM
    Sarah, you're welcome. Leigh :)

  • /data/userPictures/A64D35E2-FF52-4161-8F9F-D92AD1FB7611.jpgKai Ozogul8/1/2018 9:58:27 PM
    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, Leigh.
    This is one of the most commented article on
    Procrastination is the thief of time and the grave of opportunity.
    I just wanted to share this quote because I totally agreed with it.

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton8/2/2018 5:30:01 AM
    Hi Kai - Indeed it has lots of comments - and that's because so many of us can relate to the negative effects of procrastination. I love the quote, thanks for that!

    All, the best, Leigh

  • /data/userPictures/9736B2F5-7441-4127-9C92-6A26908AED58.jpgSam Knight11/15/2018 10:08:50 AM
    I kept putting off reading this article but seriously I really appreciate it!

  • /data/userPictures/3243AF74-6C14-4A30-9F93-4A87DE5AAC5A.jpgLeigh Ashton11/16/2018 6:18:57 AM
    Ha Ha Sam, very good. I'm glad you got round to it in the end. It's the article with the most comments on which kind of reflects the interest in this subject. Regards Leigh