Tuesday, April 12, 2011

5 Steps for Overcoming Procrastination

All of us battle procrastination at some point in our lives. There are many reasons why we procrastinate. Maybe the task is unpleasant, you don’t have the resources you need, or you need more information to take action. However, if you constantly find yourself putting off tasks, you can benefit from some simple strategies to overcome procrastination.

Step 1 – Admit to the Problem
You must first recognize that procrastination is an issue for you. Do you constantly rush projects, complete things at the last minute, or find yourself missing deadlines? If so, you either suffer from procrastination or you are over-committing to an unmanageable workload. Try to define the root cause of your procrastination to help overcome the issue.

Step 2 - Get Realistic
The key to beating procrastination is to organize and prioritize your tasks. Make a list of everything you need to do the next day and prioritize the list before you go to sleep. When you write something on a list, you give it importance and are more likely to get it done. Break down complex tasks into simple steps so they don’t seem so overwhelming.

Step 3 – Focus, Focus, Focus
To increase your productivity you must avoid distractions. If you have a hard deadline, cut yourself off from interruptions from phone calls, emails, and visitors. Stay focused and get your work done. However, don’t forget to reward yourself for accomplishing tasks. When you finish an item on your list, take a short break and read a chapter in your book, go for a walk, or any small reward of your choice. Rewards are positive reinforcement for being productive. Celebrate your success and give yourself a pat on the back!

Step 4 – Visualize your Success
Visualize the end result of being productive and getting the job done. Imagine having the task off your to-do list. Visualize yourself turning in the finished product and focus on those positive feelings to motivate you to get started. When you expect productivity and positive results from yourself, that is exactly what is likely to follow. Don’t dwell on the negatives of procrastination, instead focus on the benefits of doing what you need to do.

Step 5 – Define the Cost of Procrastination
Ask yourself, what will happen if I put this task off until “later?” Will you have to work until midnight and miss sleep? Will you miss a deadline and make your boss or client unhappy? Will you have to skip a reward, such as spending time with your family or friends to make up the work? Knowing the cost of procrastination may motivate you to get the job done immediately.

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