Dan Ariely talks often about the "pain of paying." He argues that financial transactions where you don't actually see the money dwindling cause less pain, and can lead to overspending. For example, you may stay with a gym that automatically deducts your membership fees from your bank account each month, even if you don't go! Because there is little pain of paying.
But if you had to physically pay with cash from your wallet every month, the pain of paying might make you rethink continuing your membership. His advice: if you're trying to spend less, use cash more.
Unfortunately, spending time is the ultimate automatic deduction. There is no physical currency associated with it. We don't see it happening. Thus when we procrastinate, there isn't much pain of paying. And so we delay.
But pain doesn't just happen to us...we have the power to create it on purpose. Focus on the terrible consequences of procrastination...what will be lost, what will never be gained.
And pain isn't the only motivator. Feel in advance the wonderful feelings of accomplishment too. These two forces combined in the right amounts, can produce the right kind of motivation.