Procrastinate postpone delay – or just do it!

Acknowlegement of country

Procrastinate seemed to be my new second name. For weeks or maybe months I sat in a heap with stuff to do piled around me. The longer I postponed tasks the more painful my feelings. A physical sensation like suffocation grew behind my sternum.

It wasn’t just my creativity that was blocked, but the whole of my life. It seemed like every task, and even things I usually do for pleasure, seemed too hard. Easier to put them off till later, or at least until tomorrow.

It felt too difficult to write a blog, call a friend, wash the dishes, even to go to bed at a reasonable time. My energy diminished by the day. My lists grew, but instead of motivating me, they caused more distress.

I do not usually procrastinate. Maybe it stress caused it, but my new state upset and confused me.

Read more: Procrastinate postpone delay – or just do it!

My mood began to change when I read Holly Ringland’s The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. A bookclub choice, I thoroughly enjoyed the playful and creative debut novel by a best selling writer. Love the cover!

Intrigued, I discovered she had also written The House That Joy Built: The pleasure and power of giving ourselves permission to create. I bought that, too. A few chapters in, I found it made good sense and began to make sense of my apparent procrastination.

Ideas to help overcome procrastinate

Many conditions cause people to procrastinate. Among them are anxiety, stress, physical illness, some medications and fear of failure. Anxiety and stress are not only causes of, but can also be caused by, procrastination.

According to Dr Itmar Shatz, the following are some of the main reasons why people procrastinate.

Task aversiveness (i.e., thinking a task is frustrating, boring, or unpleasant in another way). Anxiety and fear (e.g., due to concerns over being criticized). Feeling overwhelmed (e.g., due to having so many things to do that it’s unclear where to start).”

The author lists and explains many other reasons why people put off doing what they should do. He also demonstrates a multitude of ways to overcome procrastination.

I recently experienced a massive and painful life-change which you can read about here. My husband who has been ill for several years decided with the help of his family to move to Busselton (a beautiful and thriving seaside town in Western Australia) to be closer to his son.

Shocked and anxious, I slept poorly and this further depleted my energy* levels. As well, some of the tasks that I needed to do required skills I thought I did not have.

Instead of thinking of myself as ‘lazy’, I would cut myself some slack and be more self-compassionate.

There seemed to be too many options that might improve my behaviour, so I opted for a few simple things. These included

  • Sleep and energy. Sleep hygiene that works for me includes going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Not using screens for a couple of hours before bedtime. Spending time in the sun. Not napping during the day. Taking nice even breaths and relaxing before sleep.
  • Added different exercise. As well as swimming laps three times a week, my pool time now includes a few fun exercises.
  • Asked for help. Instead of being overwhelmed, I asked for and received a variety of help from family and friends. This made an enormous difference, and I’m grateful.
  • Increased fun and playfulness. I read books for fun. They’re not necessarily the books I usually read, but I did enjoy them. Jenny and I binge-watched, ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’. While this series is not fun, I thoroughly enjoyed watching with my daughter. Played and continue to play music.
  • Creativity. I made new and different meals and bought a new cookery book. Moved furniture so the living room looks more open and spacious. Introduced some new prints on the walls and added splashes of colour to a couple of rooms. Changed things on the balcony where my tiny garden now flourishes.
  • Accepted the inevitable. Repeated the Serenity Prayer regularly and have decided that there are things I cannot change but must go with decisions that I do not like.
  • Broke tasks down. Things I continued to fret about doing became easier when I broke them down into smaller components. I do not have to finish everything in one go. I can do a little bit at a time. At least, now I start and finish some of the things I’ve put off for so long.

This helpful and healing little list has helped me overcome the paralysing ennui and fatigue. It may not be the perfect list and t may not work for everyone. But it has made a world of difference for me in the middle of what felt like a dreadful emergency.

As always, I’d love to read your comments

I’ve linked this blog to the Weekly word challenge, Energy. It’s the challenge of my friend, Sue W who blogs at and Gerry C who blogs at You might like to check out their very different but equally interesting blogs.

signature, maureen helen
Maureen Helen blogger


  1. After reading this positive solution to your turmoil it reminded me of advice I was given after giving birth to our first child by a wonderful clinic sister.” Just do jobs in 1/2 hour bites, then check before taking on another” I achieved so much in a more relaxed way than trying to be too ambitious. I too can be a procrastinator!

    1. Thank you Maureen. Some days, half hour bites seem a bit too much to commit. But if I just give myself ten minutes to start something, I often find I become engrossed and finish more quickly than I could have imagined. Those old clinic sisters used to be wonderful, didn’t they? Now young women seem to be tipped out of the hospitals with their new babies and after one visit are left to their own devices. So sad, really.

    1. My pleasure, GerryC. I love Sue’s and your word prompts, but I seem to get them when you are almost ready for the next one and I feel as if I can’t keep up. Trying, though!

  2. Insightful, Maureen.
    I find music helps, no words, just beautiful music.
    Contemplating nature, looking at the trees outside, time by the ocean, these make up little changes in my routine and help shift my spirit into a better space.

    1. Susan Dunn, you are amazing! I love your suggestions of gentle, self-compassionate activities that help to shift your spirit and mindset. I will incorporate them into my days. Thank you.

  3. You are a remarkable woman, Maureen. I’m amazed at your energy; you are an inspiration to us all.
    The advice from your friend Maureen about tackling jobs in half-hour bites is good.
    I’ve had similar advice about pacing myself from the Long Covid clinic.

    Just for the record, I’ve become an expert procrastinator.

    1. Hard to believe you’d ever be a procrastinator, Sue W. Your usual daily round sounds full of movement, life and joy. You’re a bit hard on yourself to call recovering from long COVID procrastination.

      1. Thank you for your kind words, Maureen.
        I don’t get notifications of your replies for some very odd reason. And I have the same problem with other sites that are self-hosted. It never used to be the case, so I imagine it’s the fault of WordPress; hopefully, it will right itself. Please forgive me if I miss your replies.

  4. Maureen Helen for a very long time I too have had trouble getting back to sleep after waking in the night. The best advice I had was from my son who studied Chinese medicine: breathe in deeply through your nose for the count of 4, hold that breath for the count of 7, breathe out slowly through your mouth for the count of 8. Repeat 3 times.

Comments are closed.