Here is how to beat procrastinationWhy not just do it? Why do we procrastinate and how can we change this?
Do you procrastinate? How about a few ideas to …? Here are some recommendations to avoid procrastination.
Someday is not a day of the week.
You would be surprised how many people around the world can lay claim to being a procrastinator – after all, don’t millions of people put off doing something until later on. While it is normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning.
So what is it that you should be doing right now? Maybe writing your thesis or business plan? Doing some work on the computer, cleaning up? More often than not, we tend to occupy ourselves with other things than what we should be doing. We procrastinate. But why not just do it? Why do we procrastinate, and how can we change this?
We are all procrastinator
Let’s face it: we all procrastinate at times. The key is to not let it become a restricting habit.
It is true; some people like the thrill that they get from procrastinating, that addictive rush of excitement that comes only just meeting the deadline in time. The more aversive a task is to us, the more we’ll resist it, and the more likely we are to procrastinate. The more negative emotions we show toward a certain task, the more likely we are to procrastinate,
Others have found that by procrastinating, they can blame their poor results on a lack of time. This is used as self-protection against failure.
Here is how to beat procrastination
How to avoid procrastination? Does that sound like procrastinate procrastination? Why not? Here are some recommendations to avoid procrastination:
1. Do the most important and/or the toughest job first
Start with the most important or the toughest job where you get the most out of it. Many people tend to start with easier, unimportant, minor tasks. With tough tasks, this sometimes leads to a kind of mental block and negative feelings related to the job. That is one of the main reasons why people procrastinate. They put off facing the tough tasks, thinking it might miraculously disappear. But once you have finished the toughest job, you’ll feel relieved and only have little easy tasks to do.
2. Set a date and time frame
Experience shows that any task will fill the time frame allotted to it. A concept called Parkinson’s Law explains this well: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. That is why it is so important to set a date to do it and a time frame in which to complete the task.
You’ll feel relieved and most likely satisfied with accomplishing something.
4. Be aware
A good way to begin the quest for identifying the problems provoking procrastination in your life is to carry a small notebook with you. When something doesn’t get done as scheduled, take a moment to write down the reason in your notebook. This will help you to improve your time management skills.
Focus your undivided attention on one task at a time.
6. Plan in steps
When it comes to starting a task or project, people tend to procrastinate if they lack either a clear starting point or a logical sequence of steps to take. Map out a quick outline of what it will take and how much time is involved. Divide large tasks into smaller, manageable projects, step by step.
7. Know the priorities
To know what is important or urgent is easier to decide when you have the bigger picture in mind. What is your motivation?
8. Good decision-making
Procrastination becomes less likely on tasks that we openly and freely choose to undertake. If you are a naturally focused and driven person then you may not need these suggestions. The better you know your goals and what you want, the easier things can be for you.
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This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.
Published: June 21, 2001
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 22nd, 2022
I do procrastinate and will try some of your recommendations.