Here’s a question: why do people procrastinate?
Sometimes, procrastination can be a sign that what we’re working on the wrong thing—but it can also just be a product of our laziness.
Or, maybe, it’s the universe telling us to step back a little, take deep breaths, and recharge before tackling the task at hand.
The truth is, there is no “best way” to overcome procrastination.
So to help us uncover effective strategies that can help us stop procrastinating, we asked experts to recommend the best books on ending this habit before it becomes a chronic problem.
Let’s have a look:
Steve Levinson, Ph.D.
The book offers a fresh and bold perspective on why people so often fail to actually do the things they intelligently decide they should do.
The book takes people off the hook for their follow through failures. It argues that failing to follow through is not exactly your fault. It’s primarily the result of a design flaw — that’s right, a design flaw — in the normal human mind.
What’s more, by understanding the flaw and learning how to use follow-through strategies to work creatively around it, you can dramatically improve your ability to do whatever you intelligently decide you should do.
This book teaches readers how to maximize their productivity and efficiency in all facets of life, including work, personal lives, business, and family lives.
After reading this book, I found that I naturally lowered my procrastination and began completing work more quickly and efficiently.
I have actually suggested this book to all the employees of our organization, Advancing Science Worldwide, as I believe any business can use this book to improve employees’ productivity. However, this book is not solely meant for businesses. It can be used in all walks of life.
This book focuses on stopping procrastination and how to increase productivity from a scientific lens. It discusses the latest academic research on this topic.
The types of research it discusses include psychology, neuroscience, and economics. The research described is some of the latest, most cutting-edge information and I believe it can be highly useful to reduce procrastination.
Solving the Procrastination Puzzle is my favorite book specifically on the topic of procrastination.
It takes an unapologetic look at the psychological reasons behind why we procrastinate and has some extremely useful & practical tips for combating it.
A quick read, which is helpful for us procrastinators, it does not waste time and provides clear and concise techniques and strategies.
This is one of those books that come up in a lot of conversations when talking about great books to read – at least in my opinion and for good reasons.
This book is an award-winning bestseller about the science behind why habits exist and how we can change them.
It argues that the key to build discipline and break procrastination is to understand how habits work.
It teaches how our brain forms habits for the purpose of simplifying our repetitive behaviors and saving brain power.
The absolute best book I have ever read on procrastination is “Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change” by Timothy A. Pychyl.
Timothy goes into a lot of depth into why we procrastinate and the steps we should take in order to fix it. Like most people, I have battled with procrastination. Identifying when I feel like procrastinating and having an exact label for the type of procrastination I want to do, helps me get better at fighting it.
Often times people tell us the solution is to just do it. But as we all know, it just isn’t that easy. Knowing the exact steps required so you can just do it makes the procrastination battle one that is winnable.
Timothy gives a lot of examples and provides a lot of first-hand research to back up everything he says. In my opinion, this is the only book you need to read on procrastination. If you plan on reading several, read this one first.
The theme of this game is on how to overcome procrastination and enjoy guilt-free play. Dr. Fiore’s techniques will help you start and accomplish your tasks as fast as possible while avoiding any anxiety brought on by negative habits like focusing on perfectionism.
This book deals with the roots of the problems and why we procrastinate. It explains that procrastination is usually a symptom of past experiences, irrational fears, or a variety of other reasons.
The main idea of this book is simple – tackle the hardest thing first. Do the most important task or the one you’ll procrastinate on the most, first.
So when you “eat the frog” you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that its probably going to be the worse thing you do all day but by doing it, you’d have gotten the most important thing out the way for the day.
Brian Tracy explains what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination. He also teaches you how to not let tech eat up your time.
People procrastinate for many reasons. Some for fear of failure. Some are perfectionists. Some just cannot focus on a task at hand.
Many people feel their procrastination comes from believing they are not good enough in some way. So, they try to put off completing a task, which only makes them feel worse.
This is where Kristin Neff’s book comes in. Her take home is: it’s time to “stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind.”
The book offers to advise on how to help pull yourself out of the crazy cycles we put ourselves in (like procrastination) and focus on the now.
You have the tools you need to be successful and work to your highest potential right now. Cut yourself some slack and put those negative thoughts where they belong, in the garbage.
As a marketing director, I’m constantly trying to get work done whilst battling my procrastination. When I first landed the role, I struggled to keep up with the workload. But after reviewing my daily routine, I noticed I was actually wasting a lot of hours doing pointless things and being distracted.
One of the books that helped me change my daily routine and increase my productivity is Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy.
The book focuses on “Eating a frog” every day (don’t worry it’s just a metaphor!), which basically means, getting one big task crossed off your to-do list.
The book helps re-wire your mind and shift your attention to completing the most important task first. (The one you know you’re going to procrastinate on!). Once you’ve completed that big and important task, every other task seems ridiculously easy!
The premise of the book is pretty easy to understand, but getting to the point where you can eat that frog every day requires some practice.
That’s why the book also comes with lots of tips and tricks on how to stop your workplace from being so distractive and what you can do to minimize distractions and get more work done.
Related: Why Done Is Better Than Perfect?
It may have been a while since I’ve read the book, but I still use a lot of the principles covered in it every single day at work. If you’re looking to get more tasks done in your workday then I certainly recommend giving it a read.
This book goes in depth, digging into the roots of why someone procrastinates and how to fix that.
Jane Burka takes a sensitive yet humorous approach to identify and explain the reasons why we put off tasks. She tackles things like our fears of failure, success, control, separation, and attachment and their roots in our childhood and adult experiences.
This book also provides tips on how to deal with other procrastinators.
This book by Piers Steel is a relatable read which expands on why humans procrastinate even when we know it will be bad for us.
Steel talks about how procrastination can affect every part of a person’s life and how the problem is on the rise.
Luckily this book also addresses how we can try to stop procrastinating, especially in today’s day and age of technological distractions.
If you’re having trouble with procrastination, this book by Petr Ludwig and Adela Schicker is here to help.
The authors recognize the constant struggle that many people experience in trying to be more active in their lives, and they discuss how taking control of your life will help you live a fuller one.
They list 8 simple tools that can help you stop procrastinating, with both practical and more theoretical points. They also cite studies in their writing, so you can gain more insight into how to help your brain overcome its tendency to procrastinate.
The Willpower Instinct combines countless insights from economics, psychology, neuroscience, and medicine to effectively illustrate why and how to be productive.
Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal uses her platform to discuss the necessary steps in order to take control of your life, hijack the brain’s systems of self-control, and be the best “you” you can be.
Furthermore, she explains how procrastination can affect our health, happiness, and productivity and the exercises needed to overcome these obstacles.