Emotional intelligence against procrastination

Fighting procrastination is a lifelong battle, but it can be won if you use the principles of emotional intelligence.

I used to be a master of procrastination.

I say “teacher” because I felt like my procrastination had a “purpose.” It was justified.

I told myself I was too busy. And since I have so many things to do, I will postpone these important things so I can focus on the urgent (also important) things.

He had also seen the effect of “Parkinson’s Law.” You know, the concept that states that “work expands to fill the available time.” To combat it, I used to wait until I had just enough time to complete a task before I started working on it.

“This way I get to do as many things as possible”he told me.

But this way of thinking has big problems.

First, I tended to underestimate the scope. He thought he knew how long it would take me to complete a certain task… but it often ended up taking longer, so I was late. Or he would rush through the work, but not give it the time, attention, or deep reflection it deserved.

Furthermore, he lived under constant stress. He was very productive: he ran a business, spent time with my wife and children, and even volunteered several hours a week. But extreme productivity came with extreme pressure.

I can not continue like this, I told myself.

So I started making changes. Those changes led to positive results, such as relieving stress and increasing the quality of my work, my family time, and my joy.

Each of the following tips is based on the principles of emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage emotions with the goal of producing real change.

If you’re a master procrastinator like me, you need to stop making excuses for procrastination and recognize the reasons why it’s bad. Otherwise, you will not convince yourself of the need to change.

First, procrastination is bad because it often causes you to not give a desired task or project the time it deserves. But it also has other problems.

«Procrastination makes life much more laborious and burdensome than it should be»a friend once told me. “It also makes it a lot less fun, because it increases the worries and anxieties about doing things the right way and on time rather than just doing them.”

And now that we’ve established this, say it with me:

Procrastinating is bad.

Procrastinating is bad.

Procrastination is bad.

2. Identify and understand your feelings

There are several emotions and feelings that can contribute to your procrastination habit.

They may be:

Fear (of doing something you don’t like or of the magnitude of a task or project)
Pride (I am so productive that I will focus on other more urgent things and do this tomorrow).
Anxiety (There is so much to do that I need a break).
Of course, there is nothing wrong with these feelings. But if you identify and understand them, you will be able to cope with them.

The fear of a huge project is natural. But could you break that project down into manageable tasks?

Being proud of your productivity is okay, to a point. But is it possible that you need to say “no” more often, to give the right time and attention to the most important things?

Anxiety is natural. But could you set a time limit for your break, maybe 15 to 20 minutes? Otherwise, you’ll go down the YouTube rabbit hole and your anxiety will lead to, well… more anxiety.

For masters of procrastination, the idea of ​​working too soon on a task is stupid.

What if something changes and makes you want to do this thing differently?

Or what if I don’t even have to do this thing?

(Believe me, I’ve thought of them all).

But remember:

Just because you start working on something doesn’t mean you have to finish it.

The good thing is that when you start, you get all the juice out of it, allowing you to reach a state of flow faster, so you get more done than you had anticipated. (More on this in step 5.)

Plus, you increase the quality of your work, because every time you review it, it improves. (Procrastinators, on the other hand, basically always turn in their first draft.)


Have you just finished a meeting? Start planning the next one.
Do you have an idea? Don’t just write it. Start developing it.
Have you been assigned a task? Start preparing it now (or the same day, if possible).

In the past, if I couldn’t work on a task or project right away, I would add it to my to-do list. This calmed my anxiety, as it made me feel that the task would be taken care of.

Bad idea.

I ended up with an “impossible” list, a list of tasks so huge that it was impossible to finish quickly. So the things that were at the bottom of the list were postponed to the next day, and the next day, and the next day….

So instead of adding important tasks to a list, schedule them on your calendar.

Make sure you schedule enough time to complete the task or at least make significant progress. And don’t fill your calendar with consecutive tasks, meetings and appointments; That only predisposes you to exhaustion.

On the other hand, if you are reasonable with your expectations and give yourself time to breathe, you will do more and better work in the long term.

Finally, if you find yourself with some free time and need to convince yourself to start working on a difficult task, follow the five-minute rule:

Force yourself to work on a task for just five minutes, knowing that you can quit after five minutes if you want. (Face it, you can do anything for five minutes.)

This simple mental trick usually gets you started, and often turns into much more than five minutes. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve done the hardest thing of all:


So, remember: The fight against procrastination is a lifelong battle.

But it is a battle that can be won, especially if

  1. Recognize the need to change.
  2. Identify and understand your feelings.
  3. Work on things beforehand.
  4. Put it on the calendar.
  5. Use the 5 minute rule.

Use these techniques to dramatically increase the quality of your work, reduce anxiety and stress, and kick the habit of procrastination… once and for all.