“If it weren’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done.”
“Two rules of procrastination: 1. Do it today. 2. Tomorrow will be today tomorrow.”
Although I can’t tell you who came up with these gems (authors are unknown), I can tell you this: the quotes may be funny, but the consequences of habitual procrastination are decidedly not. Over time, chronic procrastination leads to a guilty conscience, excess clutter, inefficiency, and has the potential to completely derail an individual’s career.
If you’re the type who occasionally puts off important tasks, you’re not alone. In fact, most of us procrastinate at some time or another – especially when presented with the option of doing something that’s more enjoyable or comfortable for us. But while procrastinating may provide some immediate gratification, those effects are only temporary.
The next time you’re tempted to put something on the back burner, try using these tactics to stay on-task, manage your time and get your work done:
- Examine your attitude. Do you think the world is just too complicated? That you’re constantly hindered by everyone else’s incompetence? These are self-defeating, avoidance-producing attitudes and beliefs. Recognize them as such and try to replace them with more productive, self-empowering beliefs and attitudes.
- Choose the right environment for getting your work done. You will accomplish much more in an area that’s free from distractions and interruptions.
- Break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. If you create an action plan of simpler tasks, you can transform a seemingly overwhelming project into something you can realistically accomplish.
- Do something to work toward your goal every day. Start with a small task, even if it’s not the most important one or logical first step. When you complete it, set another goal for yourself. Once you get on track, you’ll feel affirmed and ready to tackle the next step.
- Reward yourself. Promise yourself a latte, or some other small reward, if you’ve completed a tough project on-time.
- Ask someone else to check up on you. Being accountable to another person can make a tremendous difference in your motivation and help you develop more productive routines.
- Do your tasks in the reverse order of pleasantness. Try starting with the thing you want to do the least. Once you cross that off your list, the items that follow will seem easier and more enjoyable.
- List the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the work. If you see the problems that procrastinating will create written down in black and white, it may keep you on-task.
- Accept yourself. Give yourself time to change. Remember, it takes at least 21 days of repetition to form a new habit. Forgive yourself if you backslide, and praise yourself for all your accomplishments, however small.
Get Your Career On Track
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