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Start now!! Guidance for procrastinators

2012: Tú, only better

The saying goes No dejes para mañana lo que puedes hacer hoy; but tomorrow always seems like a better day to get anything done.

If you find that you avoid attending obligations promptly and give different excuses (like “I work better under pressure”, “I like things last minute”, “I just cannot find the right time to do it”, “something came up”) to postpone your duties, you may have a procrastination problem. Isolated incidents do no harm, but if you do this often, you have fallen into a damaging pattern of behavior.

Procrastinating essentially means putting things off, or delaying something that needs immediate attention; distracting ourselves with activities that are not a priority (like Facebook) in order to leave all the important things (like work) for later and/or never. Procrastination fills the gap between intention and action. It’s the time used/wasted between making a decision and acting upon it, setting the goal and taking steps.

Because this is a chronic problem that can seriously harm careers and relationships, we’re providing a few guidelines for you to start being your most productive self:

Check your motives: if your motivation is not strong enough, your plans will not stick. Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Is this important? What do I expect to gain? Once you realize what really matters to you, you can eliminate from your to-do list the things that you’re not putting your heart into or aren’t essential and focus on the ones that are.

Take back control: it’s your life. You, as an adult, must be able to regulate your behavior in a way that serves your best interests. This includes setting realistic goals, and exercising impulse control. Identifying your impulses will help you stop yourself before getting off-track. For example, if on your way to (an important activity) people text you to meet up and you cannot resist, get ahead of your impulse by turning off your phone. It eliminates temptation.

Stop self sabotage: keep in mind that it is you, and only you, who is ruining it for yourself. You know in the back of your mind that later may never come, things may never get done, and you still let it slide. You put things off because they’re too hard, or too easy to even worry about, but in either case you’ll see no gain until you take action.

Punish/Reward yourself: find something you like doing for fun (like partying or playing video games) and use it as your reward-punishment system. If that paper did not get typed this week, you’ll have to skip Thursday night drinks or your game-date with your nephew until it’s submitted. Don’t worry about it being good, just worry about it being done.

START! The only way to get rid of paralysis is to make one move. Take the first step, make that appointment, write the title of the essay, show up to the gym, put the laundry in the cart.

The only time to stop procrastinating is now.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. […] year off right. I revisited an article from Being Latino, an online Latino lifestyle magazine,  Start Now!! Guidance for procrastinators. (read the full article for […]

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