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Stuck Procrastinating? Here’s How Recovery Can Help You Overcome It

As humans, our thoughts, behaviors and experiences all work together to form who we are, what we do and how we live. So when we’re having a difficult time with something in our life, we can draw upon our life wisdom to help us – especially the wisdom of recovery.

One of the toughest things people struggle with at work or school is procrastination. In the age of technology, social media and binge-watching television, distractions are everywhere. And when you have personal or professional goals, you know that procrastination is the killer of progress.

So instead of letting it consume you, what if you looked to your recovery for help?

Rely on Your Recovery

Recovery is built on many important principles: hard work, grit and tenacity to name a few. All of these principles tie into a common theme – doing hard things.

Like many people say, recovery is a program of action. In any journey, you have to do hard things to get the results you want, whether that’s achieving a goal, staying sober, or finishing a small task. For example, think of your first day in treatment. It was hard, wasn’t it? You probably felt uncomfortable, scared or nervous. You may have even tried to go before, but put it off for another day, and then another. Procrastination, whether it surrounds us in a decision to get help and go to treatment, or to finish a work project, is often the result of fear. And in recovery, you learned to overcome that fear.

Instead of being overcome by fear or the habit of procrastination, use recovery tools to stay focused, stay on track and continue moving forward.

Here’s how:

  • Use mindfulness.
    Learn to stop yourself in the moment and use mindfulness to simply accept that procrastination is happening. Then, when you notice you’re procrastinating, take 5 minutes to close your eyes and become aware in the moment. A cornerstone principle of mindfulness is that it’s non-judgmental. In your moment of mindfulness, you’ll re-center, acknowledge procrastination is happening, and then can work to simply move forward and refocus on the task at hand.
  • Leverage accountability.
    Think about the benefits of sponsorship or recovery coaching in sobriety. Whether you have a professional mentor or not, find someone to keep you accountable. You might be in the process of going back to school, working on a project at work, or even a task in recovery. Use the help of mentors and sponsors to keep you accountable, check up on you and then motivate you to get back on track. It might not always be comfortable, but it will keep you moving forward.
  • Establish a reward system.
    There’s a principle in treatment called ‘contingency management,’ or put simply, the use of rewards as a motivator for sustained sobriety. It works for some people because it gives an extra incentive and sense of motivation to stay sober and keep up with the recovery-strengthening tasks on your list. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. You might consider establishing a reward system for yourself. Put $5 towards something on your wish-list for every task you complete without distractions, or motivate yourself with gift cards or outings with friends for each set of tasks you complete at school or work. You can make it fun!
  • Take the leap.
    If procrastination is a form of fear, then sometimes the best way to beat it is just to do the thing that’s worrying you. Whether it’s the fear of failure, the need to be perfect, or being afraid of the unknowns, just for right now: do the hard thing. Finish the task, write the letter, or give the presentation. Once it’s finished, you can take a breath of fresh air and remind yourself how great it feels to overcome. Again, remember that first day in treatment?

Don’t Let Procrastination Rob You of Opportunities

Procrastination steals us of opportunities and experiences, and it’s easy to let it slide. But in your new life in recovery, let action be your guide. Whether you use these tips to overcome procrastination on the job or as you build a healthy recovery lifestyle, pay attention to what works for you – and then do more of it.

And if it’s still difficult a month from now, remember, progress not perfection. Stay committed to the process of change, procrastination included.



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