Tips To Take Care Of Procrastination


Procrastination is the "I'll do it later." syndrome. It's often the beginning of the downward spiral, as the more we say we'll do it later, the more there is to do later, and the more the tasks become insurmountable. Often our procrastination is based on fear of not being able to complete the task, creating anxiety and lack of self-confidence as our duties begin to pile up. Here are some tips to keep on track:

  1. Chunk it down. Think of the challenge before you as a chocolate bar scored in squares and each square is a task that needs to be done from beginning to end. Do one task at a time, as you would savor each chunk of a chocolate bar, one chunk at a time; not starting the next piece until you've completely enjoyed the first piece, and gotten all the satisfaction out of it that you wanted. Mini deadlines and small rewards for finishing on time work well. Example: Don't go for that cup of java until the letter is typed, addressed, stamped, and in the mailbox. Plan rewards at each step of the project.

  2. Make a choice that supports your efforts. Procrastination is choosing to delay a project by choosing to do something else. When you choose to do one thing, you automatically let the other choices go. If you make no choice, then you have nothing. If you choose, you risk either winning or "loosing" and if you consider each "loss" an experience to learn from, then it's not a "loss", but valuable information.

  3. Bank ideas. Talk to other individuals that are highly motivated and always meet their deadlines. Ask them what they do and how they do it. Make a list of their strategies to have on hand. When what your doing isn't working, try something different.

  4. Use a timer, or watch with an alarm, to keep on schedule. It's important to set time limits to avoid hyper-focusing, which can be just as detrimental to completing tasks as procrastinating. Work shorter periods of time with more frequent smaller breaks. Reward yourself by doing stretches for two or three minutes. It will make you feel better. Get a small set of hand weights, and do a few lifts every fifteen minutes, you'll look better too! Always make breaks enjoyable and energizing, remembering that meditation and prayer are very energizing and revitalizing activities. Be realistic about the amount of time it takes to complete each task. If you never have enough time, you may just be underestimating how long it takes, or you may be too much of a perfectionist. The concept of "that's good enough for now," may be something you have to explore more fully. Example: A quick run through with the vacuum cleaner may be fine before friends come over for dinner, but you may want to dust and shine up the place a little more closely when you have your new boss over for dinner for the first time.

  5. Motivate yourself with your thoughts. Think about how good it will be when it is all done. Also think about all the aspects of what needs to be done and start with the one that is the most interesting to you. Once you get started on something that's interesting, it's harder to stop.

  6. Use visualization for self-motivation. Think of a resourceful state that would be helpful to you in certain situations and recall a time when you experienced that state. Notice what you see, hear, and feel while you experience that state fully, and then double the experience in your mind's eye. Connecting with that resource state can be very beneficial.

  7. Determine the value of the task to be done. If something is valuable enough to you, it will get done.

  8. Plan ahead of time. Leave plenty of extra time for repeating a task, getting lost, or what ever may come up unexpectedly that would use up extra time. Write down your plans and structure the activities in logical order, so one task naturally leads into the next task. Writing down activities allows for you to see where you may group related activities to save time. Example: Dropping off the dry-cleaning on the way to the recycling bin, instead of making two separate trips at different times of the day.
  9. Always attempt to do things immediately, when possible. Create an outline for possible ideas and know that it's not written in stone, so it doesn't have to be perfect the first time you write it down. Have a special place to record the information, such as an organizer or bulletin-board or the refrigerator door. Make sure to check off the items on your list as you do them. Keep a list of accomplishments for a sense of achievement and to see how far you have come.

  10. Delegate duties when possible to a co-worker, family member, or friend. Focus on what you know you do best, and ask others to do the rest. Remember that what you don't like to do, someone else may like doing and vice versa. Ask for help with what you know you are not good at. It's a sign of wisdom when you know when to ask for help. Look at asking your friend to do you a favor as a way of extending to your friend an opportunity to be a better friend. Think of how good you feel when you do something nice for some one else and know that your friend will feel the same by doing something nice for you.

  11. Start work early in the day.

  12. When sorting and handling paperwork, use the O.H.I.O. principle: Only Handle It Once!

  13. Use a coach or sponsor to help you plan, and to run your ideas by. Have some one who is non-judgmental and has no vested interest in your outcome to review your ideas. An impartial observer can give you valuable insight, but you also need some one who has your best interest at heart to encourage and support you without being too critical. Get feedback from someone and also have someone to call when you get off schedule or become unfocused.

  14. Set reasonable limits without guilt about not trying hard enough. Be kind to yourself.

  15. Make these practices a priority, trying to understand the root of procrastination, so proactive steps can be taken with self-awareness.

  16. Take care of your body, mind, and spirit with the kind of nourishment it needs.

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