Procrastination At Its Finest

Do Just One Thing
Do Something

Last Minute

A former colleague told me a story one time about a friend of his, a school teacher, who left school early on the last day of the school year to buy wallpaper and paste, so he could decorate a room in his house at a leisurely pace over the summer holidays. Two months later, on the last day before term started, he was rushing to start and finish the job! An example of procrastination at its finest?

Of course, he is not the only one. There are many examples of this type of procrastination and once you have sighed and blushed over these, I will give you Just One tip on how to avoid being one of these stories.

Student Syndrome

A recent study was run on “procrastination in schools” and the results were remarkable. Over 90% of students suffer from procrastination whether it involves tests, assignments, or exams. This tends to get worse as they grow older and does not fade away. This is often known as “student syndrome”, where the project has been given plenty of time for preparation, so the student puts off starting because they have “plenty of time” but of course, that time slips away. There is a book written for procrastinators in upper school and College for writing essays and even pulling an overnighter but you will need to know the material, unless it is a pure conjectural or fiction type of essay. I wish I had known about this book when I was in school but the author wasn’t even born then. It’s an excellent book and will only take about 2 hours to go through. You can even download it to a Kindle so you can get stuck in straight away. I have read it and used it during my doctoral studies but it is also useful for school pupils writing essays. It is called “Don’t Panic: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing an Effective Term Paper” by Steven Posusta.

There are a select few who can overcome this problem and continue to improve as students. The rest struggle and these bad habits continue even into academic life. Some academics in University seldom publish papers in journals (as they are required to do), they just don’t “get round to it”. There is a useful book available for them too, on writing a journal article in 12 weeks, based on a paper or essay they have already written, no matter how poor. Again, this is an extremely useful book but is aimed at academic journal articles in all fields. This book is called “Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success” by Wendy Belcher.

Biggest examples of procrastination?

Does it happen elsewhere? You KNOW it does!

Let’s take a peek at a few more stories.

1) Work Assignments

There is no better example than the employee with a major presentation coming up, and who delays preparing for it. After all, in the US, people are said to be more frightened of speaking in public than of death! You might feel comfortable about your knowledge on the topic and prefer to put off preparing. This happens all the time because people don’t want to do the work. You might know the topic, but is that a good reason to delay preparing? What if there are hitches along the way? Procrastination could lead to serious trouble, and it often does. Remember that old adage – To fail to Prepare is to Prepare to Fail.

2) Cleaning

Cleaning is another example of procrastination at its finest. People might have spring cleaning around the corner or just a general day where the rooms have to be vacuumed, and the dusting has to be done. Well, they will delay it to a point where the house is a mess, and it is hard to move around. The same goes for those who leave the dishes to the end of the night rather than doing them along the way. This leads to a pile of dirty dishes no one wants to look at.

There is a “Just One” tip below to help with this.

3) Confrontation

Ever felt like a person was bullying you? What about those were not doing their end of the bargain on a group project? It happens all the time, and certain people put off tackling it because they feel it will turn into confrontation and those repercussions can require further attention which frightens them, so they deny it is happening.

What To Do?

These are all examples of procrastination at its finest. There is a lot of risk attached to putting things off for so long, and it is rarely the right option. So what can you do?

Just One

My preferred option is doing “Just One” and I apply it to everything where I am likely to procrastinate. Just One, means exactly that. If I am procrastinating on putting the laundry away, I tell myself, “Just one item” or sometimes “just one minute”. I put away one item as I pass the laundry drier on the upper landing, even if it is only a hanky. It’s only one item BUT, it’s done, it’s away and I can do another one next time I pass. If it’s an essay, then “Just One” might mean “one minute”. I can pin a piece of paper to my noticeboard and write down 5 questions about the subject in that one minute. If someone is not pulling their weight on a project, I ask them for one minute of their time and say what I am doing, then ask for their comments. There is no confrontation and because the intervention happens with plenty of time before the project is due, it gives them a chance to overcome THEIR procrastination.

When you are confronted with a big task that you don’t know where to start, Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, just do something, JUST ONE. You will feel freer and an awful lot better. That dread in the pit of your stomach will start to lift and you will see a way through to completing it. Maybe not right away but you will find that path towards completion.

Carrying Through a Long Project

If you need to carry through a long project with several steps, you may find this new post on how to stop procrastinating helpful. It includes a visual tool for comparing what you have done with what still is left to do and because you stick it up somewhere you will see it every day, it provides a visual reminder of the undone project, rather like a Daruma doll, only it shows you what steps to take.

Decluttering – a Healthy Habit

healthy habits step by step
Habits develop step by step

Too much STUFF!

Our world has become increasingly consumerist and goods are cheaper than ever which often means our houses are brimming with possessions. But are all these possessions making us happy? In fact, clutter prevents us from enjoying our homes by making the upkeep harder and more stressful. More and more people are choosing to decrease the number of possessions and declutter their houses in order to live a simpler and more relaxed life. That reduces stress and helps make us healthier.

Starting Out

Beginning decluttering can be daunting. But look at it this way – it took a long time to amass all the clutter so you can’t expect to get rid of it all in one manic session.  The key to decluttering is doing short, manageable sessions over a period of time. Decide how much time every day you can dedicate to the task but don’t get carried away and try to do everything at once. Sometimes it helps to just start with one small area of a room like a cluttered shelf or cupboard in your kitchen. Doing a bit at a time is satisfying without being daunting and doing it that way helps to develop the habit of decluttering which is a powerful motivational tool to keep you doing a little each day.


Before you start you should arm yourself with some essentials to make the task easier. Large bin bags, a good cloth, a spray cleaner, labels and a marker. You can buy any cleaner you like but I prefer using a natural cleaner – vinegar. I decant it into a spray bottle and use as I would any cleaner.


Decluttering can be suprisingly hard and emotional. It is hard to let go of our posessions. Some people fear they may need the item in the future. To help make the decision a bit easier ask yourself a few key questions:
1) Do you really love the item? If you really love an object and it means something to you then keep it.
2) Has the object been used recently – certainly within the last year if not more recently. If not, get rid of it. I was given a pasta maker as a wedding present a decade ago and had never used it. Not once! Still I kept it, using up space on my kitchen counter ‘just in case’! Let me tell you, if you haven’t used something in 10 years you aren’t going to use it. I finally let it go and gave it to a charity shop – so the charity benefits and someone who actually wants to make their own pasta benefits!
3) Is the object broken? This is a no-brainer. If it’s broken throw it away and the pieces that go with it. I know someone who has a drawer with bits from old kitchen equipment, long since defunct and discarded. The pieces don’t fit any current machine and are not likely to. Have you got anything like that that could be thrown out?

Getting It OUT!

This is where your bin bags and markers come in as you label things to “keep”, “give away” or “chuck away”. You could also sell items on eBay (for example) if you prefer to try to make a little profit on your decluttering. If you are having a hard time emotionally deciding on getting rid of a particular item, put it in a bag and write the date on a label. When you come back to that bag in a few weeks or months time, if you don’t remember what is in it, then don’t open it, just chuck it.

Make It A Habit

It is important to declutter a little at a time but regularly. Even 10 to 30 minutes can make a big difference especially when done on a daily basis. 30 minutes spent clearing out a cupboard will actually save you time once it’s done and you no longer have to hunt through clutter and junk for the item you want. Once you set aside a bit of time each day to declutter you will be amazed at the difference to your house and your sense of wellbeing and enjoyment of your space.

How To Declutter Your Home For Good

Are You Organized Yet

Please note, this page contains affiliate links.

In our materialist and consumer-oriented society, it is paradoxical that many people say they would love to own fewer things. Our houses are crammed full of all sorts of items that we do not really need. Imagine how much more pleasant it would be to live in a clean, well-organized home that only contained what was really important to you. how to declutter your home and pare down your possessions is important if you want to avoid becoming overwhelmed. However, this task can seem impossible. Where can you begin? The mere thought of sorting through everything that you own and deciding what to keep can make you feel defeated before you ever get started.

How To Begin To Organize

Fortunately, there are some simple tips that you can use to make this project a lot easier. First of all, it is important to start small. When you look at your home as a whole, it is all too easy to give up in despair. Instead, pick a small section of your home and focus on that.

This can be a single room, or even a single corner of a room. Even clearing off a shelf can be enough to get you started. Organize that drawer in your kitchen that is crammed full of junk, or recycle those old magazines that have been sitting on your coffee table for months.

Start Small

Starting with a small, manageable project gives you an immediate taste of success that provides much-needed motivation. By choosing an area that you can clean up and organize in an hour or two, you will not get overwhelmed as easily. If you feel discouraged later on, you can always go back and look at that area to feel better.

Too often, people throw themselves into this process and feverishly try to work at breakneck speed for a few days. They may get a lot done, but then the motivation fades and they wind up back at square one. If you really want to get your house organized, you need to make sure that you make slow, steady progress.

Just One Step A Day

Rather than trying to get everything done in a long weekend, focus on doing a little bit every day. Even 20 to 30 minutes a day will add up over the long run. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish in this fashion. In addition, you will be less likely to burn out and give up quickly.

Try to develop a regular schedule for getting rid of clutter, instead of just doing it when you feel like it. Set aside a chunk of time each day when you focus on this task. Once it becomes a regular part of your daily routine, you will start doing it without even thinking about it.

Once you get over the initial hump, learning how to declutter your home is not as difficult as you might fear. You just need to get in the habit of keeping things organized. Before long, you will have pared down your possessions and your home will be a more pleasant place to live.

You can find more help on decluttering and how it can improve your health on this page.