Procrastination affects everyone to some degree. It can be minor for some, while for others it can cause stress and anxiety. While it is considered normal to some degree, it becomes a problem when it interferes with normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of psychological disorder. There may be a connection to procrastination such as
having anxiety, low self-worth, and self-defeating mentality. It could also be connected to lack of self confidence or disliking the task. Here are some tips you can use to help beat procrastination:
- Help set up goals and how to accomplish them. Make sure the goals are realistic for you to achieve. Your goals or tasks should match your values, if not it will be harder to find the energy to tackle them. If you can’t achieve something right away, try again. Don’t give up right away.
- Identify expectations and create a calendar or “to do list.” Make sure to cross out completed goals which can give you a sense of confidence and accomplishment. Putting items on your list that take more than 30 minutes might discourage you. Try making a series of smaller “to-do’s” instead.
- Break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks. This can include steps so you can follow through on the task. It might help to set a completion point for accomplishing a small task. You don’t have to tackle all the steps in one sitting. Spread out a large project over several work sessions. By checking or crossing off items on your list will help you to see greater progress.
- Having a reward system can help motivate you to start and end a task. Brainstorm what rewards you want to engage in when you complete a task such as going out to the movies with friends after work, reading a book, spending time with friends, etc.
- Make your task fun and pleasant. Try making the task and environment pleasant. Try alternating unpleasant tasks with tasks you enjoy. You can listen to music or dance while you complete an unpleasant task.
- Set a time limit. Challenge yourself and play a game by setting up a time. Tell yourself “I have 10 minutes to clean out my draw before I move on to another chore.”
- Don’t try to do everything perfectly because perfectionism usually leads to procrastination. The progress is important.
- Try doing the most creative and difficult work during the most productive part of your day.
- Prioritize which task needs to be done first. One way to prioritize is to either number them or give each task an A, B, C designation. A designates must be done. B designates should be done. C designates doesn’t have to be done unless you have enough time.
- Ask someone to check up on you. Having the pressure of someone asking you what you have completed during the day may help you to get started on a task sooner than you think.
Procrastination is reinforcing. Every time you delay it reinforces your negative self talk and negativity towards a task. Active participation gives you a positive attitude towards yourself and the task. There are benefits to overcoming procrastination. You will feel empowered, free, competent, confident, healthier, have a peace of mind, feel less stressed, and feel that you have control over your life. You will have a greater personal self gratification. Keep working on beating procrastination. You may still procrastinate, but at least now you have some tools to help you overcome delaying a task.
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Last reviewed: 27 Jan 2014
Nieves, H. (2014). 10 Steps to Help Beat Procrastination. Psych Central.
Retrieved on August 30, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mental-health-awareness/2014/01/10-steps-to-help-beat-procrastination/