Count to Five: The Ultimate Key to Stop Procrastination

We've talked about procrastination before. It's a form of anxiety, and can be explained by a number of things.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

One of the biggest factors contributing to procrastination is the notion that we have to feel inspired or motivated to work on a task at a particular moment.

Another explanation is that we often falsely believe that we have more time to do things than we actually do. This makes it easy to convince ourselves that it's ok to hold off on important tasks.

Students are especially susceptible. A whopping 80% of students experience procrastination in some form, explained by tendencies to:

  • Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks
  • Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
  • Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete
  • Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project


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How Can We Fix It?

In a broad sense, all of these explanations can be grouped into one phenomenon: our tendency to negotiate with ourselves. Think about it. How often do you know that there's a task that needs to be done, but an opposing voice in your head talks you out of doing it?

"You're not in the mood"

"You don't feel 100%"

"You have so much time"

"Let's just do it later"

"It'd be way more fun to watch TV"

All of these rationalizations are a negotiation going on in our minds. To combat this, ask yourself: who is in control-- you or your thoughts? This realization that you are being controlled by forces that are NOT you but are actually outside influences is often enough to get you to snap out of it. Just count to five and do it!