Become More Self-Disciplined and Avoid Procrastinating

If you own multiple planners, read motivational books, and have re-organized your workspace more times than you can count but are still procrastinating, you are not alone. The best organizational system in the world won’t help you stop procrastinating if you aren’t self-disciplined enough to act. Self-discipline is the internal motivation that is key to ending procrastination.

What is Self-Discipline?

The New Yorker reviewed studies on procrastination and defined self-discipline as the ability to control and regulate personal behavior. Self-discipline is required to delay immediate gratification for future benefit. People who procrastinate don’t practice self-discipline and chose momentary satisfaction over long-term success.

Many people today feel stuck at their job and in life. Studies show that the average worker spends one hour and twenty minutes a day procrastinating instead of working. Another study indicated that 25% of adults surveyed felt procrastination was their most defining personality trait. When people cannot motivate themselves and regulate their behavior, they become procrastinators who don’t achieve success in life.

Why is Self-Discipline the Key?

Self-discipline stops procrastination. Each person has a choice, to take action on a task or to do something else to avoid it. People without self-discipline chose to avoid or delay tasks, even when there are severe consequences for their procrastination. They find other, more enjoyable or rewarding things to do instead of doing what needs to be done. Despite rules, deadlines, and even punishments, procrastinators don’t control their behavior beyond their immediate satisfaction. They don’t have the discipline needed to wait for future rewards.

Psychologists believe that procrastination stems from the negative emotions a person feels when they don’t enjoy a task. The boredom, unpleasantness, or ambivalence a person feels about a task causes them to procrastinate. They can’t see past the negative to the future benefit. Self-discipline helps people tackle a task, work through the negatives, and succeed because they are willing to wait until the task is completed to be rewarded, regardless of how difficult or unpleasant the task seems.

Creating Self-Discipline

To end procrastination, you must first become self-disciplined. Not all tasks will be fun, but many unpleasant tasks are necessary steps for success. Recently, a group of business and industry leaders offered these tips to create self-discipline:


Having a strict schedule keeps you focused on what you need to do and when it needs to be done. Scheduling one hour a day to work on a single task adds up, and you will complete the task without feeling like you’re procrastinating. As you see your progress, it becomes easier to go back to the task, because the end becomes closer. You will begin to want to work on the task, creating the self-discipline to get it done.



You might feel that cleaning your house is an unpleasant task, but by reminding yourself of the compliments you’ll receive when you have guests, you can stop procrastination. Knowing that you’ll get a raise at work when you complete a project makes self-discipline worth the effort.



Another way to build self-discipline is to break large tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. Forward progress is the opposite of procrastination. As you complete each part, you move closer to your goal. You will see yourself accomplishing things, not putting off everything until later.



Have a great idea? Visualize that idea as action. Imagine yourself taking the steps needed to make your idea a reality. Now you have a roadmap for self-discipline. You know that if you move from one step to another, you will succeed.

Practicing these tips leads to forming good habits that create self-discipline. It’s not enough to say you will eventually do something. Self-discipline requires a commitment to action. These tips help you build the self-discipline needed to stop procrastinating.

Without the habits of self-discipline, procrastination becomes a habit itself. You can create the self-discipline needed to stop procrastinating and reach success. The key is regulating your behavior.

Listen to 'How to Overcome Procrastination'