Over the years I’ve come across some really cracking examples of procrastination.
I recall my sister telling me about a friend of hers – an eminent academic – who confessed she’d chosen to remove the accumulated grease from the back of her cooker with a teaspoon rather than start work on an article for an academic journal.
A colleague of mine finally finished reading “The Procrastinator’s Handbook”, having admitted taking it back to the library three times to renew it!
For those of us for whom these examples sound all too familiar, here are a few tips to help beat the demon of procrastination:
1 Ask yourself: “If this task is something I keep putting off, is it something I need to do at all? Can I shelve it completely? Is it no longer relevant to my life? Could I delegate it?” If not, just do it.
2 Sometimes a task can seem so immense and overwhelming that it literally paralyses us. Break the task down and ask yourself “what’s the one thing I need to do to get started?” It may be to turn the computer on; write the first sentence; make the first call. Whatever it is, just do it.
3 Give yourself a short time limit to work on the task. Time Management Coach, Mark Forster, suggests setting a kitchen timer for, say, 10-15 minutes and ONLY working on the task for that amount of time. You’ll be amazed at how well this technique works.
4 Do it first. Whatever you’re putting off, do it first otherwise it will slip to the bottom of the list and most probably stay there to be superseded by other, less important tasks.
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