Procrastination is one of the most significant roadblocks to waking up, making the proper decisions, and living the life you’ve imagined.

According to recent studies, people regret the things they haven’t done more than the things they have done. Furthermore, regret and guilt associated with squandered opportunities tend to linger considerably longer. All of our opportunities appear to be at our fingertips at times, but we can’t seem to get to them. When you procrastinate, you are wasting time that could be spent on something more productive. If you can defeat this formidable foe, you will be able to achieve more and better harness the potential that life has to offer.

We already know that today’s world encourages procrastination, making understanding how to fight it one of the most valuable skills you can acquire. As a result, procrastination is the polar opposite of punctuality. A punctual person accomplishes what has to be done exactly when it needs to be done; a dilatory person never does anything when it needs to be done, preferring to postpone it until tomorrow, next week, or next year. If procrastination is not firmly checked, it quickly develops into a poor habit, making punctual performance of everyday responsibilities impossible. It could be due to simple laziness and a reluctance to work when it is inconvenient, or it could be due to the delusion that there will be enough time in the future to do all of our tasks.

How can you overcome procrastination?

Stop being so pessimistic: People delay for a variety of reasons, one of which is that they catastrophize, or make a big deal out of a minor issue. The underlying idea is that executing the activity will be “unbearable.” It could be related to how difficult, boring, or painful it will be to do the task. Challenges, monotony, and hard labour, in actuality, will not kill you, nor will they make you sick. Procrastination, on the other hand, is linked to stress—imagine how stressed you are when you put off making a phone call you know you need to make. Put things in perspective: “This isn’t my favourite task, but I’ll finish it.”

Concentrate on your “why”: Procrastinators are more concerned with short-term rewards (avoiding the task’s unpleasantness) than with long-term outcomes (the stress of not doing it, as well as the consequences of avoiding this task). Instead, concentrate on why you are performing this task: What are the advantages to finishing it? Imagine how good it will feel to go into a decluttered closet if you’ve been putting off clearing it out.

Keep your expectations in check: Set yourself up for success as you create your schedule. Projects can take far longer than anticipated, so plan ahead. Also, search for ways to make your life easier: If you’re not a morning person, don’t expect to get up an hour earlier to begin a fitness regimen you’ve been putting off for months. That exercise might be better scheduled during lunch or before dinner.

Chunk it: When a task appears to be too demanding, procrastination is common. So, how do you divide that project down into smaller, more manageable chunks? If you want to write a book, for example, you could prepare an outline, identify each chapter, determine the portions inside each chapter, and then commit to writing one segment at a time. Things will make you feel less overwhelmed and more empowered if you break it down like this.

Optimize your environment: Your surroundings can either help or hurt your productivity. Keep an eye out for technology that keeps pinging to let you know someone has contacted you, such as your email or messenger. Procrastination can be caused by social media, internet “research” that takes you off course, and phone calls.

Forgive yourself: Stop berating yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Things will only get worse if you think things like “I should have begun sooner” or “I always procrastinate; I am such a failure.” According to research, forgiving yourself for past procrastination can help you stop procrastinating on a task. You can also try to capitalise on previous procrastination. How? Determine what caused your avoidance—fear, stress, a lack of understanding of how to move forward, a lack of accountability, and so on. Then, in the present and future, confront those difficulties