Career | Entrepreneurship

Understanding The Psychology Behind Procrastination And Practical Tips To Overcome It

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Procrastination is a common issue that affects many people, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress. Understanding the psychology behind procrastination can help individuals develop effective strategies to overcome it. If non-therapeutic interventions have not been successful, professional support from psychologists, such as the team at ShiftGrit Psychology, can be beneficial. The Shift Protocol, an innovative therapeutic method, systematically reduces and/or eliminates limiting beliefs using Reconditioning via Exposure & Integration (REI) (more commonly referred to as Reprocessing) and has shown promise in addressing procrastination.

The Psychology Behind Procrastination:

Procrastination is a complex behaviour influenced by various psychological factors. Some of the primary factors include:

  • Fear of failure: Many people procrastinate because they are afraid of failing. This fear can stem from perfectionism, a need for approval, or a fear of criticism. Procrastinators often believe that if they don’t complete a task, they cannot be judged for their performance.
  • Low self-efficacy: Individuals who lack confidence in their ability to complete a task successfully may be more likely to procrastinate. Low self-efficacy can lead to feelings of helplessness and a lack of motivation to take action.
  • Task aversion: People may procrastinate when faced with tasks they perceive as unpleasant, boring, or overwhelming. The desire to avoid negative emotions associated with the task can lead to procrastination.
  • Time management issues: Difficulty managing time effectively can contribute to procrastination. Poor time management skills can make it challenging to prioritize tasks and allocate time efficiently.
  • Limiting beliefs: Limiting beliefs, such as the belief that one is inherently lazy or disorganized, can contribute to procrastination. These beliefs can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading individuals to procrastinate even more.

Practical Tips to Overcome Procrastination:

  • Break tasks into smaller steps: Breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps can make them seem less daunting. This approach can help reduce feelings of overwhelm and make it easier to get started.
  • Prioritize tasks: Creating a list of tasks and prioritizing them based on their importance and urgency can help individuals focus on the most critical tasks first, reducing the temptation to procrastinate.
  • Set specific deadlines: Setting specific deadlines for tasks can help create a sense of urgency and motivate individuals to complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Minimize distractions: Eliminating distractions, such as turning off notifications on electronic devices or creating a designated workspace, can help individuals stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Rewarding oneself for completing tasks or reaching milestones can help reinforce positive behaviours and reduce the likelihood of procrastination.
  • Develop time management skills: Learning effective time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique or time blocking, can help individuals allocate time more efficiently and reduce procrastination.

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The Shift Protocol: A Therapeutic Approach to Overcoming Procrastination

If non-therapeutic interventions have not been successful in addressing procrastination, the Shift Protocol offered by a psychologist may be a beneficial option. The Shift Protocol focuses on addressing the underlying limiting beliefs that contribute to procrastination and other mental health challenges.

  1. Identifying limiting beliefs: The first step in the Shift Protocol involves identifying the limiting beliefs that contribute to procrastination. These beliefs often stem from past experiences and shape an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
  2. Reconditioning via Exposure & Integration (REI): Once limiting beliefs are identified, the Shift Protocol employs REI (Reconditioning via Exposure & Integration), a therapeutic method that helps individuals systematically reduce or eliminate these beliefs through exposure and integration.
  3. Exposure: During the exposure phase, individuals confront their limiting beliefs by examining evidence that contradicts these beliefs. This process helps to weaken the belief and create cognitive dissonance, which opens up the possibility for change.
  4. Integration: The integration phase involves replacing the limiting belief with a more adaptive, empowering belief. This new belief is reinforced through repetition and practice, ultimately leading to lasting changes in thought patterns and behaviours.
  5. Ongoing support and reinforcement: ShiftGrit Psychology provides ongoing support to clients throughout the therapeutic process, helping to ensure that new beliefs are integrated and reinforced effectively.
  6. Personalized treatment plans: The Shift Protocol is tailored to the unique needs and goals of each client, ensuring that individuals receive the most effective strategies to address their procrastination.
  7. Long-term success: By addressing the root causes of procrastination, the Shift Protocol promotes long-term success in overcoming this challenge. Clients often experience increased productivity, reduced stress, and improved overall well-being as a result of their work with the Shift Protocol.
  8. Mindfulness and self-compassion: Practicing mindfulness can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, making it easier to identify when they are procrastinating. Cultivating self-compassion can help individuals respond to their procrastination with kindness and understanding, rather than self-criticism, which can exacerbate the issue.
  9. Accountability: Having an accountability partner or sharing one’s goals with a friend, family member, or colleague can help individuals stay on track and feel more motivated to complete tasks in a timely manner.
  10. Visualization: Visualizing the successful completion of a task or the positive outcomes associated with finishing it can help individuals feel more motivated and focused on achieving their goals.
  11. Time-limited tasks: Setting time limits for tasks can create a sense of urgency and encourage individuals to work more efficiently. This approach can help prevent procrastination by discouraging the tendency to overthink or become overly meticulous with tasks.

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The Shift Protocol: Addressing Procrastination in the Workplace

The Shift Protocol can also be applied to addressing procrastination in the workplace, helping both employees and organizations improve productivity and efficiency.

  • Employee training and support: Implementing the Shift Protocol within the workplace can involve providing training and support to employees, helping them identify and address limiting beliefs that contribute to procrastination.
  • Organizational culture: Creating a workplace culture that encourages open communication, collaboration, and support can help reduce the prevalence of procrastination and promote a more productive, efficient work environment.
  • Leadership development: The Shift Protocol can be integrated into leadership development programs, helping managers and supervisors develop the skills and understanding necessary to effectively address procrastination within their teams.


Understanding the psychology behind procrastination is essential for developing effective strategies to overcome it. Practical tips and therapeutic approaches, such as the Shift Protocol offered by ShiftGrit Psychology, can help individuals and organizations address the underlying limiting beliefs that contribute to procrastination. By systematically reducing and eliminating these beliefs through REI, individuals can experience lasting change, improved productivity, and reduced stress, ultimately leading to a happier, more fulfilling life and a more efficient, productive work environment.

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