Thursday, October 21, 2010

How To Stop Procrastination

Procrastination is the intentional and habitual postponement of an important task that should be done now. Procrastination is fostered by habit. So if you want to stop procrastinating, you will have to break old habits and develop new ones.  But first, try to understand the causes for your procrastination. If you can, you’re halfway there.  Recognize the difference between an appropriate decision to delay and an irrational postponement without justification. If you find yourself waiting for information from someone else, then it is appropriate to delay a project.  If not, overcome procrastination through task strategies in an environment where distractions are minimized.
Unpleasant tasks
  • Unpleasant tasks rarely turn out to be as bad as you think.
  • Complete these tasks first. Schedule them for early in the day. Give yourself a reward for doing them.

Complex Projects
  • Something looms ahead of you: starting a small business, getting a job, preparing the annual budget. The job is too big or will take too long to do now, so you put it off.
  • Break large jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks. Plan and complete a start-up task, no matter how small.

  • People delay because they can’t make up their minds.
  • Determine a time for making a decision and the criteria for making it. Share your deadline with someone else.

Fear of failure (lack of self confidence)
  • People don’t want to face the consequences of failure, so they delay. (Some people suffer from fear of success too!)
  • Develop a clear mental picture of the completed task and how you will feel at that time. Maintain a focus on the end result, not just the process. Remind yourself how good you’ll feel when you’re finished.

Lack of interest
  • You are tired or  lazy. You’ re just not very interested in the task.
  • Reward yourself for accomplishments. Go out for special lunches when major projects are completed. If you don’t earn the reward, don’t take it.
  • Schedule the task for when you will be at your peak.

  • People delay because they want to get the project perfect.
  • Set deadlines for yourself. Tell other people your deadlines and encourage them to check up on you.
  • Maintain your high standards, but recognize that sometimes 80% for you may well be 100% for someone else. Don’t spend hours conducting a detailed cost breakdown when a rough estimate would suffice.

Hostility towards a boss
  • People delay because they don’t like the person who assigned the task.
  • Review with your boss what exactly is needed. Clarify the expectations.
  • Make a game out of unpleasant tasks. Give yourself points, or do a running commentary on yourself as you do the task.

Distraction, lack of focus
  • Sometimes losing concentration causes delays.
  • Create a to-do list with priorities.
  • Block your time for projects.
  • As you get distracted from a work project, make a rule that you are not allowed to move out of your chair, make a call, surf the net, pick up a book etc. until you return to your task.
  • Complete something. Make a very small task for yourself and finish it. Very small. Then, make another one.

Unimportant tasks
Something needs to be done, but it isn’t that important. You have a leaky roof, but you don’t mind putting a small glass under it. The trouble is, things will get worse. Or you have a few repairs around the house that need to be done. All of a sudden you need to move. Fixing those repairs to make the house saleable will be difficult.
  • Calculate the possible future cost of not doing things.
  • Schedule time. Break tasks into small pieces.

      Tailor your environment for work. Close your door, clean up the clutter on your desk.
  • Remove distractions such as water coolers, snacks, in-boxes, coffee machines and magazine racks.

      If you work at home, treat your office as an office. Don’t go out to lunch before lunchtime or watch television before the end of the day.
  • Tell your family that you are not to be disturbed in your home office

  • Turn off your email notication to prevent interruptions.


  1. I was going to read this, but I'll just do it later. :D j/k. Good tips