How To Beat Procrastination

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This sparkling white beach in Jost Van Dyke of the British Virgin Islands encourages procrastination. I was its total victim. Calls back to the office were delayed, reports were not read and customer calls were not returned. I decided to put off doing anything important and instead sipped fruity drinks at the Soggy Dollar Bar.

Ok, so maybe this is the kind of place where procrastination is allowed, but when this same approach takes place on a regular basis back in the real world, careers get off track and success never happens.

So how do you know when you have fallen into the dreaded habit? Psychologist Professor Clarry Lay spends a lot of time writing about procrastination and says that anytime you let a significant amount to time pass between when you intend to do something and when you actually do it, you are into the nasty habit.

For me, filling out trip reports is my acheles heel. I will put them off for weeks until my accountant finally demands I turn in receipts and the detailed trip reports. They aren’t hard to do…I just hate doing them.

But, they are important. To run a successful business, the paperwork has to be completed. So, eventually I give in and get them done.

Fortunately, most other areas of my life are procrastination free. I haven’t always been this way but a few strategies have made all the difference.

If you practice these three simple strategies, you’ll beat procrastination too.

The strategies are so simple to follow, yet make such an impact on this destructive habit. There is no reason you can’t use these with success as well.

1. Set a time limit you will spend on a task during the day.

We often put off starting a task because we find it overwhelming or we don’t like doing it. So you have beat inclination to put the task off by using a bit of a mind game.

Set yourself a time limit and realize you don’t have to stay with the task all day. You’ll be more likely to start the task just to get it off the list. Having a limited amount of time set aside tends to make the mind more productive. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can put things off to the last minute and still accomplish things on time.

2. Break the task into small chunks.

This follows along the old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. It’s the same with tackling a task you keep putting off. So this is what you do. Start with quick, small tasks if you can, even if these aren’t the logical first actions. You’ll feel that you’re making progress and this will encourage you to continue.

3. Create a reward.

Make up your own rewards. Nothing helps to create a positive habit more than a reward for a job completed. For example, I often promise myself a massage at the end the week if I accomplish my task list. It reinforces how good it feels to finish things!

Whatever it is you’re procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it. I’ve never heard anyone procrastinating their way to success and I doubt if you’re going to be the first.

Make these three simple strategies a regular part of your day.

And, remember, the longer you can spend without procrastinating, the greater your chances of breaking this destructive habit for good!

Affectionately,
Annette

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