Procrastination. It’s a little bugger that gets to all of us. As research points out, around 20-25% of adults are chronic procrastinators. A whopping 50% concede to putting things off now and then.
But it’s not just about idle time or delaying the inevitable. According to a study, by productivity author Darius Foroux, involving over 2200 people, about 88% of the workforce tend to procrastinate for at least an hour a day. The kicker? If you’re earning $40k a year, three hours of daily procrastination can cost you a staggering $15,000.
Procrastination is basically a beast that gnaws away at your productivity, your potential, and even your paycheck. We’ve all given in to this beast, whether it’s at work or in our personal life.
But procrastination isn’t an invincible monster. It’s a habit, a bad habit that can be broken.
So, if you’re keen on achieving more in life, you’ve got to learn to tame this beast. Break this habit. Snap this avoidance loop. We’ve got just the tools to help you do it.
I’ve rounded up a list of 15 standout books that arm you with practical strategies to stop procrastinating and start doing.
A word of caution though: Don’t try to read them all at once. That’s just inviting our old friend’s procrastination back into the picture.
Instead, start small. A chapter a day, a few pages, or just 15 to 30 minutes of dedicated reading time. The key isn’t to race through the list—it’s to soak in each book, to learn, and to apply.
And if you’re wondering which one to start with, pick the one that sparks your interest the most. That way, you’re more likely to stick with it.
15 Must-Read Books on Procrastination
Here are the 15 must-read books on procrastination that can help you get back on track and make the most of your time:
1. “The Now Habit” by Neil Fiore
Fiore’s book helps you understand why you put things off. Fear of failing? Fear of succeeding? Or trying to be perfect? This book dives into these reasons and gives you ways to fight them.
It’s about replacing the avoidance with action, guilt-free play, and smart time management.
2. “Eat That Frog!” by Brian Tracy
Tracy’s book uses Mark Twain’s idea of ‘eating the frog’ – doing your toughest task first. His 21 techniques help you prioritize, plan, and stay focused.
By handling the hard stuff first, you stress less and get more done.
3. “The Procrastination Equation” by Piers Steel
Steel’s book uses an equation to explain why we put things off. He digs into why we value now over later, why we lack confidence, and why we’re not motivated.
By understanding your equation, you can change your behavior and get stuff done.
4. “Solving the Procrastination Puzzle” by Timothy A. Pychyl
Pychyl’s book makes understanding why we put things off easy and provides real solutions. His focus on being mindful and kind to yourself can help you feel less guilty when you procrastinate and take small steps towards your goals.
5. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
Pressfield’s book names the thing that stops us from reaching our goals “Resistance”. This internal force causes procrastination.
By recognizing and battling Resistance, you can overcome creative blocks and achieve your potential.
6. “Deep Work” by Cal Newport
Newport’s book introduces ‘Deep Work’, focusing on a demanding task without distraction. He provides strategies like embracing boredom and quitting social media.
Mastering deep work can boost your concentration, improve your work, and kick procrastination to the curb.
7. “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
Duhigg’s book looks at how habits are made and changed. By understanding this, you can spot what triggers your procrastination and replace it with productive behaviors.
It gives you a real plan for changing bad habits and creating good ones.
8. “Procrastinate on Purpose” by Rory Vaden
Vaden’s book talks about ‘multipliers’, people who make more time by allowing themselves to spend time on things today that will save them time tomorrow.
His ‘Focus Funnel’ can help you manage your time better, get more done, and stop unnecessary delays.
9. “Getting Things Done” by David Allen
Allen’s GTD method is a powerful way to handle your tasks. It suggests recording all your tasks outside your head, organizing them properly, and reviewing them regularly.
This can clear your mind and reduce anxiety, freeing you to focus on your work and procrastinate less.
10. “The Art of Procrastination” by John Perry
Perry’s book introduces ‘structured procrastination’, the idea that you can make your habit of delaying tasks work for you by rearranging your priorities.
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, this book can help you turn your habit into a strength, not a weakness.
11. “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal
McGonigal’s book explains the science behind self-control and how to use it to stop procrastinating.
By learning why we often lose self-control, you can build your willpower, control your impulses, and make the most of your time.
12. “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins
Robbins’ book introduces a simple strategy to get you moving—the 5-second rule. You’ve got an idea to act, move within 5 seconds, or your brain will stop it.
Using this rule can help you fight procrastination and start taking action.
13. “Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done” by Jon Acuff
Acuff’s book is all about getting things done. He says trying to be perfect is the biggest reason we don’t finish tasks, and he provides ways to overcome this.
By dropping the need for perfection, you can make real progress, procrastinate less, and get more done.
14. “The End of Procrastination” by Petr Ludwig and Adela Schicker
Ludwig and Schicker’s book gives you tools, based on science, to finally stop procrastinating.
They focus on motivation and its role in beating procrastination and offer a guide to building a satisfying career and happy life.
15. “Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now” by Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen
Burka and Yuen’s book digs into why we procrastinate. They look at things like fear of failure and success, resisting control, and the rush of last-minute work.
Their strategies can help you overcome these barriers, stop putting things off, and get more control over your life.
The 15 books I’ve listed offer solid advice, backed by real science and real experiences, about how to kick procrastination to the curb. They dive deep into why we procrastinate and offer real-world tactics to fight it.
Start with the book that grabs your attention the most, and make a commitment to read it every day. As you read it, take in the insights, try out the strategies that fit you, and see how they change things for you.
Featured photo credit: Jexo via unsplash.com