5 Ways to Overcome Procrastination! psychology and mental health help with therapist Kati Morton

(ding) Hey everybody, it’s that time of year when many of you have finals, or projects for work coming up, and so today we’re going to talk about five ways to overcome procrastination. *intro music* And before we even get into ways to overcome procrastination I want you to kind of understand where procrastination can come from. And if any of you don’t even know what procrastination means, it really just means putting something off, or waiting till the last minute to complete a task. And, they estimate that procrastination can occur for many reasons. One of which, is if we grew up in a parenting style that was authoritative, like “you have to do this, you have to do it now,” and so we procrastinate as a form of rebellion. Another, is fear of failure: “Well, if I don’t really even try, then, you know, I really can’t fail, if I never put any effort in, if it doesn’t work out, it’s not my fault.” And the third reason could just be lack of motivation overall, or even knowing where we’re even headed, a lot of students that I work with that struggle with procrastination, feel like they don’t really have goals, or things that they know they’re working towards, therefore, they just put things off, cause they’re like, “I don’t even know if this is important to me, I don’t even know if I really care about this,” and that can leave us stuck, and I’ll link an article in the description because I read a really interesting article in Psychology Today about it, and that’s what sparked the whole idea for this video, but there are actually three types of procrastinators. And the first is “arousal type.” And that is someone who loves that euphoric high and the rush of like adrenaline and everything, pumping through our bodies when we try to complete something up to the very last second. The second type is the “I’m not responsible type,” if I don’t add it in my two-cents or do anything, then I can’t really be responsible for the outcome. The third type, is the one that we already kind of talked about, and the fear of failure. That if I don’t even put any effort in, then, I didn’t even really try, so you know, it’s not on me, if I really tried I totally could’ve nailed it, I would’ve got 100%, but because I didn’t try, it doesn’t matter. (Brrrrrring) Ok, well now we know that we procrastinate, so what do we do about it? And here are the five tips to overcome it. And the first is, figuring out what triggers it. A lot of times we don’t even know why we’re procrastinating, or what has happened to make us want to keep putting it off, so figure out what’s going on in your life, or things that have happened maybe in the past, or currently occurring, that are causing us to want to put all of this work off. The second way to overcome it is not mixing areas. (ding) I’ve talked about this when it comes to sleep, but when we do work where we’re supposed to sleep, and we sleep where we’re supposed to do work, then it can be really hard for our brain and our body to get into it, snap into work mode when we usually take naps here, or this is actually our bedroom and where we sleep. So make sure you designate areas for your studying, and for working, and designate other areas for eating, sleeping, etc. The third thing is something that I constantly am aware of is not making to-do lists that are longer than seven items. (ding) Also, breaking down larger items into smaller, achievable tasks. If we put “Finish Project” and that’s our one item, that, we’re never gonna get past that, that’s gonna feel overwhelming and we may stop before we even start. The fourth tip is, take breaks every 45 minutes. (ding) For some, it might be even 30 minutes. We know statistically, that on average people can only stay focused for 45 minutes, so make sure your working in break time, and giving yourself at least a good 10, 15 minutes of downtime so that you can come back and stay focused, because we find when we push through past that 45 minute zone, we’re actually not as productive as we were previously, so it actually pays, to take breaks. The fifth and final way to overcome procrastnation is reward progress. (ding) No matter how small, we do best when we reward ourselves for finishing a task and completing something. Make sure that you’re taking time to reward all the things you got done today. Even if it was only two items, those are two items more than you would’ve done if you did nothing at all. (Brrrring!) If you find procrastination taking over your life, and it’s extremely difficult for you to get anything done, we find CBT to be the best possible therapy- based treatment, but also structured life-coaching has helped many of my clients overcome the urge to procrastinate. Procrastination is such a common issue, so please share this video, especially this time of year, when everything’s coming to an end whether we have tests or projects at work, there are so many people that are going to benefit from these tips. So please share, please click the subscribe if you haven’t, if you’re new to my channel, I put out videos twice a week, and you don’t want to miss them, and I will see you next time. BYE!


  1. This video has been uploaded on perfect timing. Thank you! Tackling A-Levels and university applications (although my mother has decided what uni I'm going to already) I don't really have a goal, or motivation. So I struggle with this daily.

  2. first I believe that its genetic, my fam are just such last minute ppl and a lot of my siblings are like that, I need that adrenaline! second as a child I never needed to work in school, I was never stretched so when I needed to work I had no idea how to, I'd never been trained so I do it last minute when the adrenaline kicks in

  3. I have been an olympic level procastinator and still am pretty bad. But I improved by learning what caused it – avoidance of things that seem "hard" and requireing of focus and effort. Now I know that even doing 5 minutes spontaneously is better than promise yourself you'll do 2 hours and not do it.

    CBT helped me with this for sure/

    For assignments ( I dont do much courses at the mo) I tend to make spontaneous notes on scraps of paper as I'm doing other stuff. After a week I might have the equivalent of 2 pages or more of ideas without seeming to have done a thing.

  4. I've been trying to finish my grade 12 online, (currently taking academic physics) and it is extremely hard to motivate myself to get it done. 🙁 I left school because of bad anxiety and depression, but I've been doing better (not perfect but better) since then. I really want to finish but there's been barriers and just straight up too much procrastinating for me to get much of anything done. I'm working on it though x) I don't want to give up! Thanks for the help Kati!

  5. I procrastinate when my anxiety gets bad. I get so stressed out about assignments sometimes that even if I sit down and start working I have such a hard time focusing so then I end up not getting much done 🙁

  6. I tend to put things off for a bit before I complete them but it's unusually because I have trouble processing information.
    It's hard for me to do things at home so I usually wait until I go back to school to finish things.
    I hardly ever wait until the last minute though because I get overwhelmed and don't finish.
    I hate putting things off for our semester project because two of my group members don't do anything, but I always get it done eventually and thankfully there is only 2 more weeks of out project.
    We've been working on it sense school started.

  7. What about executive dysfunction though? I find that I really don't want to procrastinate, but no matter how hard I try, I just physically can't get myself to do anything that I know I should. I've been working on ONE 4 page paper for over a year now…

  8. This video was helpful Kati. I don't know if I can ask here, I wanted to understand why I'm not able to focus on my work. is it procrastination or something else? can I discuss this with you?

  9. I have a tip. Buy a one week dry erase calendar and hang it in your bedroom next to the door, where you'll see it every day. I write all my deadlines, reminders, and goals I want to accomplish each day, on it. I keep a pumpkin magnet on today's date. I move the magnet every night before bed and update the calendar every Sunday night. I've found that doing this helps helps me to feel like I've accomplished something, and to not lose track of time. So I don't feel like, "wow, where did the week go?" Or "how the hell is it December already?" When I move the magnet and visually see that I've done even the smallest task that I wrote down, it helps me to feel like I'm making progress in my life.

  10. Funny how I'm watching this in bed while doing my German homework (~50 pages since I didn't do any of it during the last 2/3 of the semester) and eating chips while also texting my friend, this anxiety and depression (still undiagnosed) aren't helping

  11. Really appreciated this video! Tai Lopez also has a video on YouTube about how to stop procrastinating based on a book he read that I found really helpful.

  12. Hey Kati,
    question: i'm not on drugs and my health is fine but during summer I went through emotional abuse and a very stressful situation however after that something I remember having during my childhood came back (my childhood years were really bad) which is the feeling of everything speeding up and my thoughts become so fast and i get a headache and even if I tried calming myself and relaxing it doesn't go away. And sometimes everything is so slow and annoyingly elongated like i'm on slow motion even when i move i feel like I'm dragging myself. My friend says that people who use drugs feel this way sometimes but I don't take anything. And I tried quitting coffee and caffeine, it didn't work.
    However the (thoughts) i have while speeding up or slowing down aren't mine, I can't control them and they're usually the voices of people I don't know and usually feel like I'm fighting with that voice and it responds with hurtful comments like "you're ugly..you're worthless…"
    Do i have a brain tumor or some kind of disease or a symptom or is it just from stress.
    (I've been diagnosed with depression and anxiety before but never completed therapy)
    I tried asking my father to take me to therapy but he said no and I'm financially dependent on him, if u suggest going to therapy again i will tell him but what should i say to the therapist? I feel like I'm loosing my mind.

  13. Thanks Kati this is perfect timing I'm trying to get my life together this school year my grades where dropping my mental health was terrible and I was just stuck in a bad situation now I have a job my grades are rising and I'm working on getting more organized and stop procrastinating because those are big problems of mine

  14. Oh my gawd, you are so helpful! I am drowning in schoolwork lol. I'm actually presenting tomorrow, I added your intro video and that class is gonna get to watch it!! I'll post it on Twitter(:
    I feel like I am on the failure/lack of motivation. I remember when I was a guest on YouNow, you had told me not to make a to do list of 7+ items. I am trying not to do that lol — it really does get overwhelming. I think it takes a lot of practice — at least for me. I really need to get onto the breaks because I'll go nonstop for 3 hours; it's very hard to sit there and focus for me so I do it in large chunks.
    I asked this on Thursday's video — have you considered making a suicide hotline video? Like what happens and all that kind of stuff because I know a lot of people struggle with anxiety over them tracking the phone number and the whole 5150 thing. I personally have never called because of my own fears in it but I have texted the 741-741 number numerous times. Maybe if you have any insight for a suicide hotline, that could be a video?
    I'll post on Twitter part of my powerpoint; I can't wait to show everyone the intro video (you did just recently update it)
    Thank you Kati(:

  15. Hey kati, I have depression and over the past two weeks it has gotten worse and as a result of this I've missed quite a few days off school. My mood is really low, sometimes I am having suicidal thoughts/ideation and I self harm, I'm not able to concentrate properly nor have any motivation most days, and the idea of going back makes me anxious. Is this a valid reason for not being at school? I feel really guilty and like a failure because of this, I know I need to begin going everyday again but it can add extra stress which can worsen things, I don't really know what to do, please can you give me some advice? Thank you xx

  16. This is random but, I'm trying to find my purpose in life and thought about being a therapist. Do you have to have a degree in order to do that? Do you have a degree? Is there a certification I would need? College isn't an option for me anymore for financial reasons so I was wondering if there was any way around that. Also, is it a smart decision to become a therapist if you yourself have not fully healed your own traumas?

  17. Another question I have is, how do you care about someone without caring what they think of you?

  18. One of my main problems is I think due to my ADD, but I have a lot of trouble prioritizing things so I get super overwhelmed and my brain shuts down and then I procrastinate. It is so automatic to me now, which is horrible, but I'm working on it.

    Also I have tried making task lists and schedules, but they are only kind of helpful when I look at them. haha So maybe a side note would be to put it some where that you can't miss it. Like there are apps for it, or set alarms or something, or somewhere you are going to look.

  19. Been in a spiral of procrastination lately. A lot of stress with being so close to completing my schooling, as well as buying an apartment (which has structural issues).

    I'm currently rushing to get my schooling completed this week, I think I should be okay, but everything else is just overwhelming, having to deal with so many people with my apartment, anxiety does not go well with this.

    I'm currently not getting a lot of my duties done at work, putting a lot of things off there too.

    Uhh, everything just feels way too hard right now, I really should try and take an extended period of time off work, since I've not had any time off in about 7 years.

  20. Since I struggle with Executive Dysfunction it's hard for me to get things started, when I want to do something but feel like I can't that leads to intense anxiety.

  21. honestly, your description of fear-of-failure procrastinators was pretty hurtful. It's not about not wanting to take responsibility. It's about a buildup of anxiety that makes taking action feel as bad or worse as doing nothing, because no completion of whatever the thing is seems less bad than completing the task to less than perfection.

  22. Hi Kati, can you please do a video about losing a parent and not really 'realizing' it. I lost my dad in 2013 but can't seem to actually 'feel' it. I just believe he'll come back. I don't want that feeling because rationally I know he won't come back… I would love to hear your opinions about this..

  23. I thought this was really interesting kati . This happens to me 2 ha ha ha with school and exams . i have gotten out of hospital today but my behavior is really bad with my ied and i am really struggling with meds and i fear i am slipping again my sister thinks i am I'm being really violent aND THE RAGES are lasting longer and getting mote violent and the Drs say if it gets 2 hard TO HANDLE to bring me back to the hospital but i do not wanna go back not again so how could my sister help me with my ied kati pls help and thank you things have been slipping for a while ppl think it is due to the bullying but the Drs nd my sister are not s sure i think they saw it coming help pls kati thank you

  24. This video is great!!!Im probably the fear of failure and just hate to work on something with full effort with possibility of failing.It scares me for some reason.This helps,thanks Kati love your videos!

  25. I have problems with starting the work. Like once I start, im pretty good about working. I just don't have the motivation to start. How can I improve that?

  26. Discrimination? – If discrimination is against the law then why do so many people do it? Why does there even need to be a law against discrimination? Does discriminatory behaviour even benefit those who use it?… …I think this is the biggest issue facing my own personal mental health (and no – it is not because of Trump). I don't believe that a vast majority of people discriminate because they are sociopathic (feeling no remorse?)… …more I think people discriminate because they feel insecure. Besides – aren't sociopaths indiscriminate about who they don't care for? Yet, I can't help feeling there is nothing I can do about it.

  27. I watch kati's videos even if they don't really relate to me cos she makes topics interesting (this definitely relates to me!) and easier to understand. Her videos are also fun but calming. Just love her!

  28. but procrastination has helped me in achieving projects the last minute and it turned out really good actually rather than stick to a plan ahead, so we call this hyper-focus then?

  29. Thank you for the video! ❤️. #katiFAQ How do you make yourself study and manage depression/ lack of energy and ADHD during finals?

  30. Hey, Kati! Could you, please, talk about healthy ways to reward yourself on your channel? I never know how to do it. I heard that one should treat food as a reward, so I really don't know. I'm sure a lot of people would find such a video useful.

  31. Ugh! thank you for this! While I may be watching this when I should be writing my paper, it made me feel better 🙂

  32. Struggled with this a lot in high school. Literally would wait til the last minute to do assignments… Somehow managed to graduate with A's and B's. I think a poor work ethic and severe procrastination are to blame for that. I don't struggle so much anymore with procrastinating/poor work ethics (can't really procrastinate with pieces of artwork that you owe, otherwise your business reputation suffers) but it took time to unlearn the destructive behaviors.

  33. Katie this was a really interesting video! I think I procrastinate for all of the reasons that you mentioned! I'm definitely going to try some of your tips, because I'm also guilty of making those ridiculously long lists and writing those big daunting tasks on it. I also mix like all of my areas, dining room, bedroom, back porch, I don't ever just use my desk to do homework. I'm going to try some of these tips for my final project that's due on Monday!

  34. i think taking adorl might be a good way to stop procrastination after all if you just say you procrastinate you can probably get meds for being ADD/ADHD thats what everybody else has been doing since they claim to have ADD/ADHD

    on a more serious level though i actually find that when i have a small amount of time to do something then i can do it only so i lie to myself about the due date so i make the due date sooner and that way if i cant complete it i have one more day (it helps that i can never remember the date of anything) so peoples might want to try that

    thx for this ha bisky vid i really loved that you had other tips

  35. i remember thinking about that try and never fail thing and then i decided i have to go to vidcon even if i dont get the job i get to have fun there

    every single year since i had the money i was able to go (the first year i went wasnt supposed to be my first year i just didnt understand how to get anything) the tickets were to much and one of my bank accounts was closed off to me

    so what i did for my first year was still make several mistakes but it didnt matter 1 mistake was buying the tix to late (i also did community only i blame john for that one) another thing was not knowing how to book a hotel since i didnt know the area i booked lateish and it was way more expensive

    what was good was that year my bank account that was closed off got opened and i was able to use all of that money for my first vidcon

    then from there i did everything super early and i know i can haggle to lower hotel rooms i just feel i wouldnt be good at it so i used online and the hotels i have gotten since that first time have been 97 dollars a night so i am happy with that

    i also set up a day/time when i was going to buy the hotel and i even asked my mom about it when the room dropped to 97 dollars she said go for it and thats how i picked the hotel this year

    i also made sure i learnt from those mistakes and i am going to remember what cenk told me and that was that he will accommodate things for me to get my dream job if things happen to change up and politico doesnt happen the way john green said it would so instead of flying off to hawaii it would be to talk to him

    he even probably would have found a place to meet me if i had to but i didnt know any of that and i really needed to see my grandparents

    this year it should work out completely in my favor and nothing should get in the way of my dream job and every year i will still be going to vidcon

  36. i do the best work when i am in my sleeping spot and i just lie about when the due date is if i ever had one

    i remember getting my project in on time a day early because of it and my teacher was like wth you had another day and i was like oops i wrote it down wrong and she was able to edit it and then hand it back to me and others had theirs in as well to be edited and it ended up being a great thing for everybody (except those who put it off more then we did) some had it half done and she was able to edit those

  37. Wow this is really useful thank you. (also thank you for not making that "you must be procrastinating since you're watching this video" joke, really… thanks)

  38. You probably mean "authoritarian" parents….those are typically the strict ones that hover and are more controlling…just learned this in psychology

  39. Re: taking breaks — I have found the Pomodoro method really helpful. Work on one task for 25 minutes, then a 5 minute breaks. Rinse and repeat. This site lets you record what you did and saves it forever and that's pretty cool. http://mytomatoes.com/

  40. here's a question- how do you tell the difference between teenage laziness and depression? my mum and dad both have some form of it (bipolar and depression), and I'm just sick of feeling like I have no energy. I eat well, sleep well and I just wanna be able to do my homework without it taking forever cus I can't think straight. Am I just lazy? I have a good work ethic. Help!

  41. I like learning new things but I still procrastinate. I even procrastinate other stuff like drawing (which I love to do) and sleeping. It became so bad that I had to repeat a year in high school- and I think I got a mild depression from it- though I wouldn't know since I procrastinated going to a psychologist. I was a failure and if I died it wouldn't matter because I would never amount to anything anyway. Just wanted to put my story up there since I feel procrastination as a problem is not taken seriously enough. I would love to see more videos on this topic 🙂

  42. What are some healthy ways to reward yourself? I feel like I tend to reward myself with food but I don't think that helps me on my journey to create more of a healthy relationship with food.

  43. what if you only have 1 computer and 1 desk? and you both work there and watch youtube there? you cant really separate it into 2 areas

  44. I believe it often stems from anxiety. Looking at clutter makes me very anxious. I know cleaning it up will make me feel better, but instead I avoid it because confronting it causes anxiety.

  45. Another reason to procrastinate is because you have ADD or ADHD. I procrastinate things that are boring or take a lot of mental effort, like school work that I don’t find interesting or that crave a lot of brain power. I also can’t really see the difference between 5 min and 5 days. I am timeblind due to my adhd. And organization is completely out of wack XD I can’t plan properly. And if something involves too many steps I will proboably procrastinate as long as I possibly can because fixing/planning/structuring something? Nah, not my best quality.

  46. I find that for me procrastination means staying in my comfort zone. Having had success doing everything very late has given me the feeling that it is effective to work that way, which it definitely is not given the fact that it is mentally exhausting me a lot. And knowing that work can be much harder than school I am starting get very anxious any time I realize I'm procrastinating.

  47. i feel like there would be more than just 3 types of procrastination. i'm procrastinating right now trying to find my mother an apartment because I'm just…in such a rut mentally that I want to pretend like it doesn't exist, even though I know I have to do it. It's like I'm self sabotaging myself. Waiting until the very last minute, or until it's too late, knowing fully that there is consequence, but my body just doesn't want to budge. Like I just don't care, but I do care at the same time, but I don't? But I do? Neither of those three types of procrastination resonate with how I'm procrastinating.

  48. Hi..Is procrastination not
    1. laziness
    2. do not wish to do the task which is not interested but has to do in pressure.

  49. I think I procrastinate because I grew up with authoritative parents and it’s an act of rebellion. Especially when I went through a very depressive part of my life when I was in 8th grade and my grades were starting to suffer. Regardless, my parents were so mad at me, they got on my case so much, and said, “you have to do things you don’t want to.” And I was like, “thanks. I already feel like shit because everything was so complicated and overwhelming and now I feel like my parents hate me.” So, I procrastinate out of rebellion.

  50. Where did you get the article that said people could only do they work for 45 mins and need to take a break?

  51. I have social anxiety, so I procrastinate on everything that involves talking to/working with other people, or asking people favors. I wish I could just do everything by myself. Even though it often means more work for me, at least I don't have to interact with acquaintances & strangers.

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