The article first goes into why we procrastinate. While some people say it is just laziness or weakness but this article sides with the studies that say procrastination is more a way of avoiding fear or dread. It has to do with the way we perceive time and how we see ourselves. And when we procrastinate, we react by feeling worse about ourselves which just makes the problem worse. We come to expect that we will put things off but we don't know how to deal with it. We feel anxious about the thing we want (or are supposed) to do so, instead, we do something fun (or at least, less threatening) to make us feel better. We figure we'll pass the problem off to our future self - who we don't have as much empathy with as we'd think. We know we are going to have to face the same problem in the future (with less time to do it) but we (the procrastinators) don't seem to care.
So, one of the strategies for reducing our tendency to put things off is to get a better understanding of our future selves and to start feeling more empathetic to our future selves. The other strategy is to break up the tasks we are anxious about into smaller and smaller sub-tasks. These sub-tasks should be small things we can can accomplish in a short time. By doing those things, we start on the bigger job and we start to feel better about ourselves. We replace the dread with a feeling of happiness that we've done something. The quote that ends the article is a good one to remember:
No one 'builds a house'. They lay one brick again and again
and the end result is a house. - Tim Urban at Wait But Why
One of the people referenced in the article is Tim Urban who co-write a blog called Wait But Why (at waitbutwhy.com) and you can read three articles about procrastination there:
Why Procrastinators Procrastinate
How to Beat Procrastination
The Procrastination Matrix
One of the things I find that keeps me from procrastinating is when I see that other people depend on me doing what I'm supposed to do. If I put this off, other people will be hurt.
What if we procrastinators just put off procrastinating until later?