Below are 16 Tips to Overcoming Procrastination; taken from Cornucopia, Ideas for Better Living.
1. Admit it. The first step is to acknowledge that you are procrastinating, and try to determine why. If you know why you procrastinate, it can be easier to figure out how to stop.
2. Accept the challenge. Every time you catch yourself procrastinating, consider it a challenge to be conquered.
3. List your excuses. Make a list of excuses you have for avoiding completing a task. Make another list of the consequences you’ll incur if you don’t do the job and don’t do it on time. Finally, list the benefits you will reap once the project is completed. Keep the consequences, as well as the benefits, in mind at all times.
4. Catch and correct yourself. In the course of the day make it a point to stop saying, “as soon as . . . ” and “just for now.” Decide to do it. Now.
5. Make deadlines a way of life. Establish deadlines to complete tasks and projects, and write those deadlines down.
6. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Schedule the time required for tasks and projects on your calendar. If a project takes five hours to complete, you might schedule one hour per day; at the end of the week, you’ll be finished.
7. Delegate or dump it. Be sure that the task at hand really needs to be done, and that you have to do it personally.
8. Get organized. If, for example, you hate to pay the bills because you have papers and files all over the place, take the time to set up a simple system for keeping track of the bills as they come in, as they are paid, and as they are filed.
9. Don’t over-prepare. Prepare ahead for the job by assembling the materials and information you need. But don’t spend unnecessary hours overpreparing.
10. Be decisive. Avoid “paralysis by analysis” by making decisions in a timely fashion.
11. Work your plan by setting priorities. Prioritize all the tasks, projects and new endeavors in your life. Follow up by controlling your tendency to constantly reprioritize so things fall in line with whatever you’ve selected to procrastinate about.
12. Match your energy level to tasks. Plan to work on tedious tasks when your energy level is at its highest.
13. Tell others what you plan to do. Once you’ve made a public commitment to get something done, you’re more likely to follow through rather than face the embarrassment of admitting that you procrastinated your way out of completing the job.
14. Just start. Getting started is often the biggest hurdle, and once it has been jumped, it can be easier than you think to keep going and finish the task. Even if all you do is assign fifteen minutes to getting started, at least you’ve begun. The following day, add thirty minutes to the project. By the third day, you may find yourself ready to work on the project without interruption until it’s done.
15. Deal with only one problem at a time. Don’t try to do several things at once. Instead, block out time—for instance, thirty minutes—and devote yourself to accomplishing at least some part of the task that needs to be completed. Then concentrate solely on the job at hand. And don’t allow distractions. Reward yourself. For every task or project that you complete—where you would have procrastinated—give yourself a small reward.
16. Don’t start what you can’t finish, and finish what you start. Finish one project before you start another. If you always find yourself surrounded by half finished projects, such as craft projects, maybe it’s time for you to let go of the idea that you can do so much.
From You Can Find More Time for Yourself Every Day ©1994 by Stephanie Culp. Betterway Books, 1507 Dana Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45207; (800)289-0963. ISBN# 1-55870-358-6; $12.99 (+$3.00 s/h).
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