4 Specific Things People Who Don't Procrastinate Do That Everyone Else Doesn't

Most of us put things off every now and then. If procrastination is becoming a real problem for you, your emotions may need some work.

man procrastinating Africa images via Canva

You’re up late the day working on an assignment you absolutely have to get done, but due to exhaustion, you finally say the infamous line, “Well, I’ll just wake up early tomorrow and get it done then.”

You set your alarm for five o’clock in the morning before rolling over and falling asleep. But when the next day rolls around you come to the horrible realization that, “Oh no! The assignment was due yesterday, not today.”


Procrastination is a horrible habit we've dealt with at some point in our lives.

For some individuals, you may even deal with procrastination daily. Yet, there are ways to both manage and erase this horrible habit for good.

In an Instagram post, clinical neuropsychology Ph.D. candidate Nawal Mustafa (also known as The Brain Coach) shares how you can stop your procrastinating by managing your emotions.

RELATED: How To Go From Procrastinating To Productive, Even When You're Incredibly Frustrated


4 ways to stop procrastinating by managing the emotions causing you to procrastinate in the first place:

1. If you're feeling overwhelmed: break it down into smaller tasks

The main culprit of procrastination is an overwhelming workload. You see, when we know a difficult assignment is coming up our mind tends to shut down. We don’t want to face this difficult task, and this is why we find ourselves doing things last minute.

Mustafa advises us to, “Break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps and focus on one step at a time." That way our tasks aren’t so overwhelming, and we end up completing our assignments on time, which can save us a lot of stress down the road.

2. If you're feeling bored or disinterested: push yourself through it

Another reason why we save things until the last minute is due to our complete disinterest in the task. Nobody likes completing tasks that bore us to death, but it’s unavoidable. At some point, we have to face up and complete the assignment at hand.

Mustafa writes, “Push me to get started and do 10 minutes of the task, If I hate it, I will stop and try again. Chances are I will keep going because initiation is the hardest part.”


3. If you're feeling anxious: take deep breaths

Anxiety can be difficult to deal with. And when you combine both procrastination and anxiety, it tends to end in disaster. But when all hope seems to be lost there is great advice that Mustafa gives.

She writes, “I will practice deep breathing and dedicate a time this week to work on the task. This will help reassure me that the task will get done, just not right now.”

4. If you're feeling self-doubt: focus on enjoying the learning process

Self-doubt is the enemy of all negative thoughts, and it can creep into our mind convincing us that we are not worthy or capable enough. Through self-doubt you may begin to procrastinate, convincing yourself that you aren’t ready to take on that responsibility.

But Mustafa says, “I will remind myself that action builds confidence.” She continues, “I will enjoy the process of learning, embrace making mistakes, and be strong in my belief that I will improve as I keep working on this task.”


As cheesy as it may sound, believe in yourself! Remind yourself that making mistakes is inevitable but learning from them is essential for personal growth.

RELATED: A 2-Step Psychological Trick To Stop Procrastinating

The Science Behind Procrastination

According to Medical News Today, “Studies suggest that 75% of college students are habitual procrastinating, leading to issues including stress, anxiety, and sleeping problems.”

Licensed social worker Sharon Greene says it has to do with a struggle between our limbic system and prefrontal cortex.

Our limbic system seeks out pleasure and avoids things that cause us stress, like our assignments. Our prefrontal cortex tends to be in charge of the planning, decision-making, and long-term goals. So, when there’s a struggle between the two confusion ensues and the cingulate cortex of our brain causes us to procrastinate.


To explain better, author James Clear tells us to imagine ourselves split into two parts: our future selves and our present selves.

While our future selves set goals, our present self is the only one who can act. But when our present self goes to decide, it’s only thinking about instant gratification, not long-term benefits. And so, they are at odds with each other, and in comes the procrastination.

For some, you may be saying, “Okay but what if I took in all of this information and I’m still struggling?” Well, when all else fails, there’s one final solution you can try.

If All Else Fails, Give Yourself 10 Minutes

Give yourself ten minutes and if you truly hate it then stop and try again later. But as we said, chances are you will likely complete your task. This is because as we complete it, we may realize that it isn’t too bad!


Once again, the hardest part about this is pushing yourself and getting started.

As Mustafa writes, “The 10-minute rule is a helpful way to minimize procrastination and take action before our emotions and brain talk us out of doing it.”

So, when the going gets tough, try incorporating these tips into your routine — you won’t regret it!

RELATED: 5 Expressions That Lead To Procrastination You Need To Be Aware Of

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.