How To Beat Procrastination

Eliminate distractions to stop time-wasting

Tom Stevenson
5 min readFeb 20, 2020


Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash

As long as humans have roamed the planet, procrastination has been an ever-present companion.

We tend to think of procrastination as a modern phenomenon, but the truth is the great figures of the ancient world experienced it too.

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius talked about in his notes to himself, Meditations. The philosopher Seneca was no stranger to procrastination either.

In his brilliant essay On The Shortness of Life, he describes it as follows:

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

Procrastination is the art of delay. It involves finding excuses and reasons not to do something now and postpone it for later. The problem is that you can only postpone a problem for so long.

If you’ve been to university or had assignments in school, you’ll know that there is only so long you can delay the inevitable. The longer you delay, the more you exacerbate the problem.

Instead of completing the task in a reasonable with no additional pressure, you are now reducing the amount of time you have to complete the task before the deadline.

While this approach may work for students who need the pressure to thrive and produce a quality piece of work, it’s not a viable strategy in real life.

What happens when you delay something with no deadline that you know you should do but don’t want to?

With no impetus to stop delaying, you’re unlikely to do so.