Nineteen ways to Overcoming Procrastination – AUG 2006

Topic: Nineteen ways to Overcoming Procrastination.

A human body at rest tends to remain at rest, and a body in motion tends to remain in motion. Procrastinators have difficult time getting in motion, but once they get into motion they tend to stay in motion. If they gain momentum the task is well on its way to completion.

The following are nineteen steps for creating momentum that would overcome procrastination.

  1. Recognize the futility of procrastination as a way of living. Do you really want a life of frustration, fatigue, and boredom?
  2. Break down overwhelming tasks into small tasks. Try to limit them to five-to-ten minute tasks. Write them on 3 x 5 cards or in your planner or notebook for easy referral. Hardly anything is really hard if you divide it into small tasks.
  3. Face unpleasant tasks squarely. Ignoring unpleasant tasks doesn’t make them go away. Not doing it today only ensures that you will feel equally burdened about it (plus other tasks) tomorrow.
  4. Delete it. What are the consequences of not doing the task at all? Consider the 80/20 rule; maybe it doesn’t need to be done in the first place.
  5. Delegate. If the task is important, ask yourself if it’s really something that you are responsible for doing in the first place. Know your job description and ask if the task is part of your responsibilities. Can the task be given to someone else?
  6. Ask for advice. Asking for help from a trusted mentor, supervisor, coach, or expert can give you some great insight on where to start and the steps for completing a project.
  7. Remove distractions. You need to establish a positive working environment that is conducive to getting your work done. Remove any distractions.
  8. Do a start-up task. Pick one or two of those instant tasks from number 2 above and begin to work on those. Just get started.
  9. Take advantage of your moods. If there are tasks you don’t feel like doing today, find those tasks you do feel like doing today. Take advantage of your moods. Get started.
  10. Think of something important that you have been putting off. List the good things that could possibly happen by doing the task. Now list the disadvantage that could come about as a result of inaction. You will usually find that the advantage outweigh the disadvantages.
  11. Make a commitment to someone. Enlist a trusted friend to hold you accountable for getting started. Choose someone who is firm and won’t let you off the hook.
  12. Give yourself a reward. Find an important goal that you have been dodging and decide what would be fitting reward for you when you achieve it. Make sure the reward commensurate with the size of the task.
  13. Give yourself deadlines. Color-code the due date on your calendar or your dairy so you can visually see that date each day. You might even color-code a few immediate dates along the way to make sure you are on track. Write down the due date.
  14. Resolve to make every day count. Treat each day as a treasure. Self talk yourself into accomplishing something new each day. Live for today without always anticipating tomorrow.
  15. Be decisive and have the courage to act. Many times we’re crippled by “what if,” “I will,” “I wish,” “I hope,” and so on. Make something happen.
  16. Refuse to be bored. Get out of the rut you’re living in. Buy some flower, a book, cook a new dish, and replace the familiar with the unfamiliar. Remember the saying, “Take time to smell a new rose.”
  17. Practice doing absolutely nothing. When you’re avoiding getting started, go sit in a chair and do absolutely nothing until you are motivated to begin. The vision of Link International Ministries was giving to me at the time I decided to do nothing. I remember sitting in a chair with my eyes closed and my mind was turned anything that has to do with the ministry. Most of us are poor at the art of doing nothing. You’ll soon find yourself eager to get moving.
  18. Ask yourself. “What’s the best use of my time and energy right now?” If that’s not what you are doing, then switch to a higher priority. What you are doing might be good, but is it the best?
  19. Ask yourself, “What is the greatest problem facing me, and what am I going to do about it today?” Plan your action and get into motion.

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