It might be a bit different from one person to another, but procrastination creeps in on all of us at some point and somewhere.
Nobody is immune.
- Is there a way to overcome procrastination?
- Can procrastination be beneficial sometimes?
- Do we need to completely rewire our brains to defeat procrastination?
These are critical questions, and here are the 30 best books on procrastination by prominent authorities in the field who have tried to answer them.
Read on and may find all the answers. Just be careful about procrastinating while reading this list!
Solving the Procrastination Puzzle by Timothy A. Pychyl
We all have self-destructive habits and behaviors. Breaking free of them is sometimes more challenging than it sounds.
But in Solving the Procrastination Puzzle, Pychyl has put together some science-based techniques to help us do just that.
Pychyl is a psychology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, and for more than three decades, he has been trying to solve the procrastination puzzle!
The Now Habit by Neil A. Fiore
Professor Neil Fiore has successfully combined his personal experience with neuroscientific discoveries to develop a strategic program for overcoming procrastination.
The Now Habit has sold 100,000+ copies.
Stop Procrastinating by Nils Salzgeber
Nils Salzgeber is an Amazon #1 bestselling author and co-founder of the popular NJlifehacks blog.
In Stop Procrastinating, he doesn’t dig into the definitions and reasons behind procrastination. Instead, he is concerned with providing practical tips and concrete methods for hacking laziness, as he calls it.
The Procrastination Cure By Damon Zahariades
The Procrastination Cure is a comprehensive plan to defeat your inner procrastinator with 21 simple steps to help you gradually transform your work, social interactions, and family relationships.
The book is so well written and structured that it is considered one of the best books on procrastination.
The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
The Willpower Instinct is a winning combination of scientific research and some life-changing exercises.
Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University and a prominent authority on the emerging field of “science help.”
The Willpower Instinct is certainly a thought-provoking procrastination book.
The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel
Piers Steel is an internationally recognized authority on procrastination who has been researching different aspects of psychology, science, and self-help for a couple of decades.
The Procrastination Equation is a motivational guide to overcoming procrastination, filled with tremendous insights and life-changing techniques to end bad habits.
No Excuses! by Brian Tracy
Luck indeed plays a crucial role in people’s success. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for not trying to achieve what you deserve.
Brian Tracy has been lecturing for years. In No Excuses!, he constantly reminds us of the key to success; instead of wistfully envying others, we must develop strategies to improve our self-discipline and personal development skills.
How to Stop Procrastinating by S.J. Scott
A little motivation can go a long way. Whether you are focused on getting good grades, making more money, or dealing with health or financial problems, you need a reason.
Changing anything requires motivation, and mastering self-motivation in this sense is, as S.J. Scott suggests, a superpower.
👉 Read How to Stop Procrastinating
Time Warrior by Steve Chandler
Time Warrior offers a revolutionary approach to time management and its role in beating procrastination.
In a 101-chapter book, Chandler explains productivity-related concepts such as time-tracking and multitasking.
The foundation of any successful planning, in his opinion, is investing in self-discovery and getting to know your inner drives.
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
Some procrastination books are as famous and well-known as the legendary Eat That Frog.
It’s a concise guide to maximizing your productivity and performance.
Brian Tracy might not be a psychology professor, but he certainly knows how to give simple and easy-to-implement advice (like suggesting to “eat that frog”).
Getting Things Done by David Allen
From basic principles to proven tricks, Getting Things Done can transform how you plan your day and work.
The fundamental premise of the GTD system is straightforward: our productivity matches our ability to relax.
So in a way, his focus is on the other side of productivity that is often overlooked: relaxation and peace of mind.
15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse
Everyone dreams of accomplishing more without feeling overworked and overwhelmed.
What if we could easily create good habits that fundamentally transform our lives?
That's what Kevin Kruse suggests in his book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management.
He draws remarkable findings from his study of ultra-productive people with different social and financial backgrounds.
Procrastination by Jane B. Burka
Regardless of social status and occupation, everyone deals with some degree of procrastination.
Students, professors, secretaries, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and salespeople all strive for success. This struggle requires hard work, self-discipline, self-control, and time management.
In Procrastination, psychologists Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen offer a probing and insightful perspective on these all-encompassing challenges.
The End of Procrastination by Petr Ludwig and Adela Schicker
If overflowing inboxes and unmet deadlines are adding to your anxiety and you wonder why on earth I am procrastinating, this book gives the answer.
Ludwig and Schicker draw brilliant insights and the science behind why we postpone things. The End of Procrastination approaches procrastination unorthodoxly, offering strategies for developing good habits, stopping procrastination, and achieving your goals on time.
The Science of Overcoming Procrastination By Patrick King
Many people have tried to formulate an internal methodology and procedural system to overcome procrastination. Most have failed, and for one important reason: their practices had little to do with the challenges of everyday life.
Patrick King, however, is a social interaction specialist and one of the world's leading authorities on social behavior and procrastination tendencies.
The Art of Procrastination by John Perry
The Art of Procrastination is a lively book filled with charm and tongue-in-cheek wit.
John Perry examines the tortuous relationship between procrastination and perfectionism and suggests a different approach to this universal character flaw: Acceptance.
He is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University and has taught philosophy regularly for about fifty years.
Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden
Vaden brings his high-energy approach and “can-do spirit” to the most challenging and intimidating problem of our time: stalled productivity.
Procrastinate on Purpose is the best way to break free from the shackles of tired time management techniques.
Vaden offers a 5-step POP model to achieve focused success:
- Procrastinate (Really?)
Addiction, Procrastination, and Laziness by Roman Gelperin
Sometimes we feel entirely paralyzed to do certain things, and sometimes we feel the same when we start other things.
Addiction, Procrastination, and Laziness is a self-help book and an in-depth analysis of the psychology of motivation. Gelperin provides fifteen effective techniques to motivate yourself when you can’t bring yourself to tackle your projects.
Following Through by Steve Levinson Ph.D., Pete Greider M.Ed.
It's a fresh and bold perspective on why we fail to do what we set out to do or make the life-enhancing changes we genuinely intend to make.
People often blame themselves for lacking motivation, willpower, and self-discipline.
However, the authors of Following Through believe that it is rather the human mind that is responsible.
The One Thing by Gary Keller
A more productive life in such a distracted world is the Holy Grail for many of us.
But is it possible to increase productivity and become less distracted?
Gary Keller believes so. And the key to figuring out everything else is truly understanding what your One Thing is.
The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey
The Productivity Project is a scientific dive into Chris Bailey’s year-long journey and his attempt to understand how to reduce procrastination.
He interviewed some of the world’s leading experts, from Charles Duhigg to David Allen, and conducted extensive research on productivity.
The result is an eye-opening and thoroughly engaging read.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us on an exciting journey of scientific discoveries and explains the importance of creating habits.
The author of The Power of Habit urges readers to consider building discipline through repetitive behaviors.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Atomic Habits is one of the best books on procrastination and creating productivity habits.
It’s the number 1 New York Times bestseller and has sold 4+ million copies.
James Clear offers an alternative way to think about progress and success and develop more fulfilling strategies to achieve any goal.
Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
There are various reasons why people procrastinate—lack of focus, the search for novelty, the unhealthy pursuit of perfectionism, etc.
Nonetheless, in his book, Self-Compassion, Neff explains that perhaps the most important reason is a destructive sense of insecurity. Overwhelming self-criticism and guilt diminish our ability to think, decide, and act intelligently.
Self-Compassion is not a procrastination book like any other. It exposes the profound consequences of self-destructive habits and suggests how to counteract self-criticism.
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
Let’s face the harsh possibility. We might be our own worst enemy.
If that’s the case, where does the process of overcoming procrastination and other destructive behaviors begin?
Exceptional by Daniel M. Cable
In Exceptional, Daniel M. Cable proposes a bold new approach to improving your performance and deepening your goals.
The title isn’t directly related to our topic, but overcoming procrastination is only possible when we free ourselves from the spell of idleness.
Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey
Distractibility and lack of focus are among the prime suspects in procrastination.
Hyperfocus is a concise guide to managing your attention, becoming more productive, and living a happier life.
Chris Bailey draws brilliant insights and practical strategies from the latest neuroscientific discoveries on concentration and focus.
The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
The myths surrounding building a daily routine are limitless. But in The 5 AM Club, Sharma shares insider tactics that turn serial procrastinators into high-achievers.
He believes that waking up early in the morning leaves us feeling inspired, focused, and full of drive. After all, the early bird catches the worm, as the saying goes.
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
Jeff Olson makes a compelling argument that mastering the art of stress-free productivity requires discipline. It must be learned and practiced like any other self-regulating behavior until it becomes a habit.
The Slight Edge shows you how to achieve powerful results with the simple daily activities of your own life, using self-help tools you already have inside you.
Emotional Intelligence for Self-Discipline By Daniel Hollins
Overcoming procrastination requires you to learn the principles for daily self-control. This book is for you if you want exercises, methods, and practices to control your emotions.
Emotional Intelligence for Self-Discipline includes 80+ exercises to help you in the process of overcoming laziness and internalizing self-control.
Most Common Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding procrastination.
What is the best book to stop procrastination?
There are many options. But if you’re looking for a short and easy read, Eat That Frog is one of the classic self-help books that has helped many people overcome procrastination.
What are the four types of procrastinators?
We all procrastinate. But that doesn’t mean we all do it the same way or for the same reasons.
There are four types of procrastinators:
1. Anxious procrastinators. Procrastination can manifest itself in various ways, such as being afraid to start or complete a task or make a decision. You can think of this type of procrastination as an ill-directed coping mechanism to avoid the possibility of failure.
2. The fun-driven procrastinators. Novelty-seekers or fun procrastinators are willing to do anything apart from the task. While getting excited about new ideas is an excellent personal quality, it can interfere with the ability to take the time to do what needs to be done.
3. Last-minute procrastinators. Some people argue that they work better under pressure. They put everything off until the last minute. It may sound logical on some level, but in the end, intentionally increasing the risk of burnout and high-stress levels is not beneficial to our mental and physical well-being.
4. The perfectionist procrastinators. Perfectionists fear not being able to complete their to-do lists perfectly and constantly criticize their work. Numerous studies suggest that perfectionism and procrastination create a vicious cycle that makes it impossible to even begin an important task.
What are the seven causes of procrastination?
1. Fear of the outcome. Fear of failure, disapproval, and rejection is a strong motive for putting things off.
Sometimes even fear of success and dealing with the subsequent changes in our lives can have a similar impact.
2. Lack of focus. Distractibility, or the inability to focus on one thing or stay focused for an extended period, is one of the main causes of procrastination.
Distractibility causes you to jump from one task to the next, so you can not finish something you have started.
3. Unclear goals or time limits. Vague or abstract goals are often why we can’t muster the will to start working. Setting measurable, realistic, and worthwhile goals is the best way to avoid this.
It’s also beneficial to set a timeline for your project. A to-do list can become your new habit, helping you organize your mind and avoid procrastination problems.
4. Perfectionism. It’s unclear whether perfectionism is a personal trait or a bad habit.
However, there is no doubt that extreme forms of perfectionism are associated with procrastination.
Extreme perfectionists often will indefinitely put off the task until they make sure they can do it perfectly and flawlessly.
5. Task avoidance and challenge aversion. We avoid doing many difficult tasks because they are very demanding for us. It can be related to the first reason, fear of the outcome.
Still, this also applies to the process of completing important tasks. Some researchers have argued that our self-sustenance instinct prevents us from tackling difficult tasks.
6. Low self-esteem. Low self-esteem and self-criticism can cause procrastination if you are uncertain about your ability to do something.
High levels of depression, guilt, and anxiety severely limit people mentally and physically and often prevent them from leading a more productive life and having healthy relationships.
7. Decision fatigue. John Tierney popularized the term “decision fatigue.”
The main point here is that our ability to make daily decisions is limited. So when we have to make more and more decisions (even about small things), we tend to become indecisive and procrastinate.