Tips to deal with procrastination

You know you are a procrastinator and you have put off dealing with it as long as possible.  Now that you are determined to conquer procrastination, how do you start?

Enlist your friends.  Honestly telling them about the problem you are having tackling a specific project may have two beneficial results.  First, they will realize that you have to work and will not interrupt you during a designated time period.  Secondly, some of your peers may have a similar problem and you can form a type of support group; just don’t meet during work hours.

Create a workspace where it is possible to actually work.  Remove clutter from the space and put in a chair that offers support, but not maximum comfort.  Assemble the tools that you need to begin the job.  Remember that preparing the workplace is often a high level of procrastination, whereby weeks can be spent assembling tools that may never be required.  To further avoid this pitfall, setting up your workplace should not be done when there is an actual task at hand.  If you are writing a job evaluation, you need your computer in order to begin, but the printer does not have to be hooked up yet. If you are painting a chest of drawers, you need the material to prepare the surface, not the paint, brushes and drawer handles.  Just assemble what you need to get started.

Take the next step and get started.  Just make a dent.  Often the project, because of procrastination, has grown out of proportion and looms overly large.  As soon as an attempt to start is made, the job may return to normal size and look more approachable.  Even if you just write the title to the report, or place a drop cloth under the chest, you have done something, which makes the next step easier.  It may take a few minor steps before you can begin the task in earnest.  What is not acceptable is to continue to put things off until the “right time”.

Accept that it will never be the “right time” and evaluate your schedule.  Determine when you have free time and are still alert.  If you are a morning person, set aside 7am to noon and put the answering machine on.  Since your friends should already have been alerted to avoid you during this time, any phone calls will likely be from telemarketers anyway.

The next point regarding a “right time” arises when, despite your best efforts, you have still managed to procrastinate the morning away.  Only 45 minutes remain before your noon lunch date.  The temptation arises to think that there is not enough time to accomplish anything.  Again, just get something done, however small.

You see the pattern by now.  The key to combating procrastination is to do something, however small, that breaks the non-productive cycle. As you take these steps, you are creating habits regarding place, time, and conditions that will make it easier to accomplish something each time you begin to work.   Conquering procrastination is the process of replacing bad work habits with good ones.

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