How To Conquer Procrastination

The most prevalent reasons for procrastination are unpleasantness and complexity. Unpleasant tasks are the worst of the two and therefore create the biggest problem. Ironically, the longer we put off doing these tasks, the more unpleasant they become. However, once we get started we sometimes discover a task is not nearly as bad as we thought it was going to be.


When facing an unpleasant task, try these ideas.

  1. Do the tough jobs first. Get them out of the way early.

  2. Analyse the task. Why do you dread it? Directly confront the distasteful part.

  3. Tackle the task in bits and pieces. Cut it down into segments you can do a few minutes at a time.

  4. Set a deadline for yourself.

  5. Promise others that you will complete the task by a specific time.

  6. Reward yourself for finishing the task.

  7. Have someone else do the task for you.

  8. Consider the cost of delaying, and the benefit of acting now.

Complexity is the second major reason for procrastinating. Some tasks appear overwhelming, and we don't know what to do or even where to start. We may not be in the mood to tackle something so complex right now. To get beyond the fear of complexity, try these ideas.

  1. Break the tasks down into steps.

  2. Focus one step at a time.

  3. Break the steps down further into several "mini-jobs" that can be completed in ten or fifteen minute intervals.

  4. Don't wait for the right mood, start now. Talk yourself into starting any way you can.

Instead of thinking you're not in the mood to do it, tell yourself how good you will feel when you're done. No matter what causes the do-it-later urge, whether unpleasant or complex, the ideas listed above can help you overcome it with a do-it-now action. So don't delay. Let's finish all of the tasks we have been putting off and don't forget to reward yourself for a job completed.

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