Breaking Procrastination

January 10, 2016

 

1.  Recognize when you're procrastinating:  We often side-track ourselves without being aware of it.   Become acquainted with your favorite delay tactics and catch yourself as soon as you wander off.

 

2.  Break Inertia:  An object that still takes more energy to move it than to keep it in motion.  In other words, keeping a train rolling is much easier than getting it to going.  Do small things to get your task started.  For instance, write random sentences to get your fingers moving and your body staying in the chair.  A few gibberish words and phrases will soon turn into usable content. You will probably find it is much easier to keep going at a comfortable pace.

 

3.  Divide your project into small, manageable pieces:  Take one step at a time and not worry about reaching the final goal.  Make use of small chunks of time, even if you cannot concentrate.  Writing a few lines or cleaning up a little section of the coffee table may inspire you to return to the task at a later time.

 

4.  Set reachable specific sub-goals:  For example, tell yourself, "Walk around the block for 20 minutes before dinner," instead of "Work out today."  Completing small tasks helps you gain a sense of accomplished from having reached your goal.

 

5.  Don't sabotage yourself:  Get rid of distractions.  Starting an unpleasant task is tough enough without having easy access to entertaining procrastinations.  Arrange your work space and work at times when you have peak energy.

 

6.  Reward non-procrastinating behavior:  Give yourself something little when you've crossed off an item on the to-do list.  Enjoy the sense of freedom and cessation of internal nagging!

 

 

 

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Natalie A. Ma, PhD

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