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Are you a Procrastinator?

Is Procrastination a part of your life?  No matter who you are, it’s likely the “I’ll just do it later” bug has gotten the best of you at one time or another.  Well, you certainly are not alone when it comes to this topic.  I’m sure you have either said it yourself or it’s been said to you…don’t put off until tomorrow, what can be done today!   I personally like this quote by Christopher Parker, “Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill!”

It’s easy to say we shouldn’t procrastinate, but are there solutions to this age old problem?  There simply is no quick fix, but maybe some of these suggestions will prove helpful.

1. SET A ROUTINE

When performing something in a repetitive manner, habits can be formed.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but if you can confront the items on your to-do list that you consistently tend to put off, you can eventually train yourself to not look at them as negative, but more positive after being accomplished.

Let’s take a very common example.  You have a paper for English class that is due in a week and you haven’t written one word.  This is one of many papers due this semester.  Rather than wait until the night before, try putting an outline, then a few paragraphs on paper each day starting 7 days out.  After four days, you should have 8 paragraphs written and your paper should be taking shape.  Three Days out, finish it, so on the last two days you can put the finishing touches on.  If you do this each time, you will find yourself less stressed and more prepared and will build a valuable habit!

2.  BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR TIME FRAME FOR ACCOMPLISHING THE TASK

Saying that something will take 20 minutes, when it actually will take 2 hours will surely have you stop short and not complete your task.  The reverse is also true.  Exaggerating a completion time will keep you from ever even starting!  Try to be realistic by using your past experience with similar tasks as your time frame.  If it’s a totally new task to you, don’t put a time on it, instead give yourself a reward for yourself for completing it in its entirety.

3.  EVALUATE YOUR CALENDAR

Be fair to yourself and look at your day as a whole.  It often helps to list on paper what your day entails already – are you in class, working, driving kids to and from?  If you realistically see how much of your time is already taken, you can honestly work your to-do list into your day.  Saying you have five hours, when you only have two, will only serve to frustrate you and procrastination will rear its ugly head.

4.  REWARD YOURSELF

Do you want to go to a movie, shop in your favorite store, or hang with friends?  Rather than procrastinate, make a list of personal rewards.  Then as you work through your checklist of To-Dos, set a reward for not putting off until tomorrow what you HAVE accomplished today.  Even as an adult, it’s fun to be rewarded for hard effort!

5.  REMIND YOURSELF of the IMPORTANCE of the TASK

Just accomplishing the task itself is not enough.  There is a reason behind everything we do and often others are affected if tasks aren’t completed.  If you are unmotivated, envision how good you will feel when the task is done.  Again use past experiences to remind you of how great it actually feels to get done with something that seems too large to accomplish at the moment.  Even taking baby steps toward the end goal is a positive starting point.

Remember that days or months from now the task will be done and behind you.  I often remember what my Dad would share with me when I was confronted with a tough task or situation.  He would smile and say, “This too shall pass!”   

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