Stop Procrastinating!

which way to go

I was recently interviewed for a story about why we procrastinate.  And it got me thinking about procrastination in general.  Here’s the thing:

  • We all do it from time to time (or all the time)
  • Most of us find it irritating in both ourselves and others
  • Most of us have at least ONE thing we wish we would stop procrastinating about (in fact, I am writing this because I am procrastinating doing something else – really!)

In the story, I was asked a bunch of questions about why we procrastinate, but in reality I’m not sure it matters.   What matters is stopping (or at least reducing) the practice.  Here are a couple tips for tackling that dreaded task and getting it done already!

Break it up.  Filing your taxes, getting your yard ready for spring or organizing a garage sale are all huge jobs that can be easy to procrastinate. Instead, try breaking large and medium tasks into several (like 5 to 10) smaller tasks.  The small tasks will feel less overwhelming and you’ll be more likely to get them done.

Recruit a friend.  It’s not always possible to work with a partner, but many tasks can be made more tolerable fun with a friend or family member around.  You can also enlist them to help you with the job, making it go even more quickly.

Reward yourself.  We all need to be rewarded for a job well done.  So whether it’s an ice cream cone, a long soak in the tub or an hour spent with a trashy novel – make sure you have a carrot to dangle in front of yourself along the way.

Stop thinking about it.  Sometimes I find it’s hard to stop thinking about the job I am procrastinating doing.  And really, how silly is that? Instead of spending so much time dreading it, worrying about it, thinking about how hard it will be to do it, and why I’m not doing it in the first place is a big old waste of time.  It’s much better to just get up a make a little headway on the job – or at the very least stop beating myself up for not doing it!

I’m off now to take my own advice and start conquering procrastination!

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