Strategies for Staying Sane: Beating Procrastination-Part 2

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Ken’s friends kidded him about always putting things off. “If there were a Nobel Prize for procrastination,” they said, “you’d be a sure winner.”  But the fact that Ken had been fired from three jobs in the past five months because of his delaying tactics was not at all funny.


Another useful method for beating procrastination involves recognizing that the way you think will either stimulate and facilitate or deactivate and interfere with the process of getting started. Most procrastination causing ideas can be called Task Interfering Thoughts or TlTs.  Alternatively, ideas that tend to motivate action can be called Task Activating Thoughts or TATs.

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“I can cut the lawn tomorrow.”  “The report is not due until Friday.”  “I’ll take out the recycling after I watch the news” are all examples of Task Interfering Thoughts or TITs.  “If I cut the lawn now, I can relax the rest of the weekend,” and “Better get started on that report in case something comes up between now and Friday,” and “Let me take out the recycling right now so I can enjoy the rest of the evening without unfinished chores hanging over my head” are all examples of Task Activating Thoughts or TATs.

You’ve heard of the old saying “tit for tat”?  Well, when it comes to beating procrastination, TAT for TIT is much more effective.

  • Whenever you find yourself delaying or avoiding undertaking a chore, assignment, or job because of Task Interfering Thoughts —TlTs – try to change them to Task Activating Thoughts— TATs – and see what a difference it makes.

It is also often useful to

  • give yourself certain rewards after completing a task.

“If I finish this report on time, I will treat myself to a round of golf” (or some other reward that fits into your lifestyle). Remember,

  • just getting started, no matter how far behind you may have fallen, will ignite the momentum of motivation.

By developing these anti-procrastination skills, you can become more productive while at the same time reducing stress.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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