How to Stop Procrastination in Its Tracks

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Photo By Koka Sexton

Do you find that you’re running around like a “chicken with her head cut off” trying to get some project done at the last minute? Have you had plenty of time to get it done, but you’ve put it off?

If you answered yes to these questions, you’re probably a procrastinator. By definition, procrastinate means to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Now, there are many reasons why people tend to put things off. Sometimes it is because they don’t want to do whatever the task, they are afraid to try, or they are just simply lazy or unmotivated.

Whatever the reason, let’s see how we can attack procrastination once and for all.

  • Set a realistic date and time for completion – For some people just simply setting a time for a specific task to be completed, provides the motivation to get them going and get it done. Put it on a calendar where you can see the deadline. This always helps me.
  • Motivate yourself – Give yourself a pep talk. Reassure yourself that you can accomplish your task and accomplish it well. Then get started. Once you start, your motivation should increase as you complete each step of the process.
  • Be accountable to someone – Ask a family member or friend to call or check up on you to see how you are progressing. If you know they are checking up on you, you’ll be much more likely to work hard to complete your job.
  • Stay focused – Try to forget about other obligations for the time being and concentrate on the matter at hand. Without other distractions, you will be able to complete your task more efficiently.
  • Try to be creative – If there is a way to make your project more interesting or fun, by all means, do it. Maybe you could turn on your favorite music and dance or sing along, depending on what you’re doing, of course. This especially works well for those household chores.
  • Break the project down – When working to accomplish a large task, break it down into segments. Make a list of each step or item to be accomplished, then mark through it as you get each item done. By dividing up the work over a period of time, you will be less likely to get overwhelmed or exhausted.
  • Ask a friend for help – Working with someone else, specifically a good friend, almost always makes the most mundane tasks fun. Even if your friend can’t help with the hands on approach, maybe just being there for you will provide the encouragement and support you need.

For attacking those once put off tasks, remember, there is no time like the present. Since you never know what awaits you tomorrow, it is always better to get things done today.

I admit, it is like pulling teeth sometimes to get started on something that you really dread or dislike doing. On the other hand, once you’re done, the dread is over and you can relax.

Whether its dread, laziness or fear that makes you keep your seat, you still have to reach your goal eventually. So, stop thinking about it, and just do it!

How do you avoid falling prey to procrastination?

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Posted on April 1st, 2009 in Home and Organization | 3 Comments
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3 Comments

  • I am a SERIOUS procrastinator!! I should print this and tape it to my computer! I like the idea of having someone to be accountable to. Although, I have clients and I still tend to wait until the last minute to finish jobs sometimes.

    I’d like to find an article about why we procrastinate? I’m not lazy, but I do get side tracked big time. The book Boundaries talks about having boundaries with yourself… this topic being one of them.

    Okay, I’m off to work! I’m getting stuff done today:-)

    Amy @ Living Locurto’s last blog post..Martha picked me!

  • Hi Amanda,
    I’m getting much better at doing things right away. Generally I write out my most important tasks for the day as well as the next actionable items for each one. I find that by breaking it down into action items the excuses for not doing something no longer valid (usually – I don’t know what to do next) as the next step is right there in front of me.

    I need to work a bit more on the whole asking for help thing. I know I should it’s just really hard for me.

    Sherri (Serene Journey)’s last blog post..Best Of Serene Journey: March 2009

  • Amanda says:

    @Amy – Here is an article I found that looks pretty good and talks about 5 reasons we procrastinate and how to handle each:
    http://www.businesstown.com/time/time-5reasons.asp

    @Sherri – Listing and prioritizing is definitely a very important first step. You have to know what you need to do before you can start doing it.

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