We started this blog series talking about procrastination in general, and then shifted our focus to start thinking about what we procrastinate about and why. Now we’re going to get to work! Remember, document your thoughts, read, and reflect on each of these steps.


Getting started is often the hardest part for procrastinators. I have great news for you. You only have to spend 5 minutes on the task you’ve been avoiding. Really. Just commit to 5 minutes. Try it: you’ll be surprised by what happens.

You’ve heard the phrase “I just can’t get motivated”. Maybe you’ve said it yourself. Well, action precedes motivation: not the other way around. Often, we can’t wait until we feel like doing something to do it. That’s the magic of the 5-minute plan. Once you get a taste of success, and experience that doing the thing isn’t that onerous or painful, you’ll be on your way to being a former procrastinator. This is very important in your early days of stopping procrastination. Because this step is about creating rapid success and competence, that sense of capability builds with each 5-minute session. Eventually, of course, you’ll increase the time you spend on a task. Yet, if you ever find yourself avoiding again, and you will, because you’re human… all you have to do is recommit to the 5-minute plan.


Make sure that your physical surroundings are conducive to success. Distractions like noise, poor lighting, or not having the necessary tools or supplies are not your friend when you’re looking to develop a winning “finisher” habit. Minimize interruptions by family and friends. Those will be way too seductive to you, especially in the early stages of interrupting the procrastination pattern.


This step is HUGE. Be all over yourself in acknowledging your progress. I don’t care if you think it’s corny to celebrate completing small tasks in a big way. This is the time for happy dances and “hoo-rahs!”. Trust me. It will make your shift quicker, easier, and bigger.

Pay attention to what makes you feel good as you make progress. Noticing even the slightest bit of increased energy or positive feeling after you finish any piece is key. Because you will be looking to repeat whatever you did, that gave you that good feeling. Learning what jazzes you is golden as you will re-create that to ignite and build motivation.

Let me give you a few examples. Some people find that they’re driven by checking off a “done” box. Others have on hand, or display, a note of “% completed” or a description of sections finished or a countdown, i.e. “ ______ left to go” record. Visual reminders of progress can be powerful in building the “finisher” mindset. They do this by developing a pattern of “moving towards” a project or goal as opposed to “avoiding,” i.e., procrastination.

Figuring out what tools work best for you is an important part of being a “completer”. Simple devices may seem small but are crucial. They are especially useful when a goal requires a lot of time. This is because some people put things off when there’s a sense of futility about them. For example, if something may take 50 days to complete, and you’re only measuring your project as “finished” or “not finished,” then for the first 49 days, you could be working hard every day, yet end each day feeling “not finished”. Not a great method to get and stay motivated.


Before you do your first 5-minute block of action I described in the 5-minute plan, you’ll need to have a few rewards ready. Once you have done your first five minutes, and from now on, whenever you make any progress on a goal, I want you to reward yourself. THIS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DEVELOP NEW BEHAVIOR. This is the best way to make a new pattern stick, and for it to become easier and more automatic for you over time.

There’s no mystery here. We do this with our kids all the time. It’s how we convert what has been a negative, challenging experience to a positive, ease-y one. Being more successful, with less struggle. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And for recovering procrastinators like you and me, it’s the solution to you turning things around, FOR GOOD.

Whether your rewards are getting to do something you like, buying something, eating something, etc. make sure you pick things you REALLY enjoy. The greater the reward’s pleasure, the more power it will have in building your “finisher” muscle.



If there’s a goal that you REALLY want to achieve, and you’re serious about getting it done, but haven’t been able to make progress on it…

Create a ramification, something you don’t want to do. Choose a realistic “completed by” date for your goal. As much as you may want to avoid doing the tasks of the goal, you want to set up a situation where you want the consequence even less. My business mentor, Mastin Kipp, taught me this brilliant tool. When I was delaying in taking the next step in growing my business, I used it. I wrote a check to an organization that I don’t support with the promise that if I didn’t reach my goal by the date on the check, I would mail it to the named group. I made the stakes high, and it worked. Note that this action also had me value the growth of my business. The same way that I value my clients’ growth. That’s the kind of focus we talk about that replaces feeling overwhelmed.

Note: You must commit to following through on your promise, or it won’t pack the motivational punch you want.

Now that you have all the steps you need…

If you decide that you want things to be different for you, to be a person who makes their dreams happen rather than putting them off, apply these two principles. They are a procrastination-stomping combination.

1. BE RESPONSIBLE. It’s time to put your big boy (or big girl) pants on. Responsible people decide. So decide to be a finisher. Choose the date, and stick to it no matter what. Like your life depends on it because your well-being DOES depend on it.

2. BE SUPPORTIVE. Be kind to yourself as you take this on. Encourage yourself: YOU GOT THIS!

By Dr. Lee Odescalchi

Author's Bio: 

Lee Odescalchi is a coach and licensed psychologist. She has coached and counseled clients, just like you, looking for more fulfilling lives. Her unique approach uses the most effective methods of personal development and performance strategies. She does this while addressing issues from the past that have led to self-limiting beliefs that get in the way of your success. Lee also empowers people to “get out of their own way” and maximize their strengths so they can produce extraordinary results… in any area of their life.