Contrary to popular beliefs, procrastination is not a character flaw. Everyone procrastinates at one time or another. Moreover, not all procrastination is bad. Some things should be postponed or put off, temporarily or even permanently. Chronic procrastination, however, can be an annoying, even dangerous habit. Not only does it waste time, it can lead to serious long-term outcomes. People procrastinate for many reasons.
Procrastination is a symptom of some area of stress for you. It allows you to reduce your anxiety by doing something more pleasurable. If you want to stop procrastinating, you need to determine why you procrastinate. Then you need to put some new thinking and behaviors into place to combat it.
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We give some suggestions below.
Tips for Moving Beyond Procrastination
- Break big projects into smaller, manageable chunks.
- Start anywhere. Just starting breaks pre-project tension. Finishing will happen if you just keep on starting.
- Do the hardest, most unpleasant part of the task first. Think of creative ways to get that part done easier and faster.
- Aim for 30 minutes of uninterrupted, quality work a day. Just 30 minutes. Don’t force yourself to do more. That will come easily once you’re in the habit
- Set limits. Pace yourself. You will always need time to recharge your batteries, catch up, plan, and reevaluate. Schedule time for those things as well.
- Schedule and stick to one-hour a day recreational/social/play time. Don’t sell out on your own needs.
- Remove distractions. If noise bothers you, get a noise-canceling headset.
- Use positive self-talk about your tasks. Saying “I have to” and “I should” keeps you stuck in a place of blame, helplessness, and depression. Instead, focus on the results you want and say, “I choose to” or “I’m choosing to.”
- Aim for excellence. Perfection doesn’t exist. Remember the 80/20 Rule. Be pleased with good enough; it’s more than adequate for most tasks.
- Celebrate small wins. Give yourself rewards on the way to your big goals. Find a supportive buddy who can celebrate with you and encourage you to stay on track.
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