How can I overcome procrastination, beginning next week, or perhaps the week after that?

Let’s be honest — just about all of us do it.

We’re addicted to procrastination…but we can start anytime we want.

How much of our procrastination problem is rooted in our childhood?

Procrastination sometimes develops due to a fear of failure and criticism in childhood.


I can’t remember the last time I did something before I absolutely had to. I don’t pay my bills until I get the second or third disconnection notice, and when my girlfriend and I took a vacation to Europe, I didn’t get my passport until the night before. Every six months I throw out the dirty dishes I’ve been putting off washing for half a year and buy new ones.

At a recent writing job at a startup, my copy was due every two weeks; I’d do nothing for 13 days and then grind out 12,000 to 15,000 words in a brutal 20-hour marathon, during which I’d always, at some point, be nearly reduced to tears of despair, slumped at my desk, head in hands, swearing that I’d never, ever do this to myself again. (I always did it again, like clockwork, two weeks later.)

Procrastination is my own personal affliction; it’s also so common that it might be said to be universal. It’s not exclusive to losers, or even humans; pigeons procrastinate, and so do monkeys. Great men procrastinate.

Leonardo da Vinci was once commissioned to complete a painting in seven months and took 25 years to finish it. Dying, he apologized for “leaving so much undone.”

After Charles Darwin formulated his theory of natural selection and told friends it would completely overturn the scientific world, he took 22 years to actually put it to paper, spending the intervening decades on barnacle research about which, he wrote in his autobiography, “I doubt whether the work was worth the consumption of so much time.”

The bigger the task, the more tempting it can be to wait until the last minute.

In 2018, scientists started intensive efforts to save the northern white rhino—when there were only two left on the planet. I’m not criticizing; I understand. “Hey, should we start saving the northern white rhino? There’s only three or four left.” “Three or four? Man, what’s the rush?”

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