How To Stop Procrastinating

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination means putting off doing something. Sometimes that is what we do, even when we KNOW we HAVE to get something done, whether it’s pay a bill, take exercise, prepare a long report, decorate a room, apply for a grant or return something bought online that doesn’t fit! We all do it. We may procrastinate in different areas but we all procrastinate.

Structured procrastination

Some people have used procrastination as a way of getting things done – surprising? This is called structured procrastination and was devised by a Stanford professor who wrote a book called Art of Procrastination: The Art of Effective Dawdling, Dallying, Lollygagging, and Postponing. He used procrastination on BIG (really impossible tasks) to get him to complete smaller tasks. We all do that too – he just used it in a really big way. Don’t believe me? Tell me, if you have an article to write, or a long report or a textbook to read, does doing the dishes or tidying your room suddenly become imperative? We often try to put off starting a big task that we dread by working on smaller, easier tasks that we don’t like doing but that we find preferable (or a way of postponing) to making a start on the big important task.

Student Syndrome

This is where someone is given a task with a long completion time, so a student might be told to write an essay that doesn’t need to be submitted for 3 weeks (or the end of term). Student syndrome is thinking that completion date is so far away that there is not need to start just yet, so it keeps getting put off. A week before the due date, or even the day before, the students suddenly realise this is now due and start to panic. Putting off starting is a well known way of putting time pressure on yourself, so the project gets completed in a rush. There comes a time when the anxiety about not submitting a completed project overcomes the fear of having to get started on something you may not know how to do. You can find out more about student syndrome in this post, together with some resources on how to overcome procrastination.

Strategies To Overcome Procrastination

1. Reminders

Our subconscious may try to get us out of starting a new habit or starting on a big project by “making” us forget. Habits are automatic but starting to put a new habit into place needs conscious thought each time, as does doing something that moves us forward on a project.

If you have a calendar with large spaces on it where you can write something and which you check daily, then write a daily reminder to yourself for the next 21 days.
Put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror or the inside of your front door, anywhere you will see them several times a day.

2. Visualization and Affirmations

Take 10 or 15 minutes at a quiet time of day to visualise how you will feel and act when your project is completed or how you will feel when you hand it in on time, knowing you have done good work or how you will feel when you have made your chosen new habit automatic. We often avoid tasks that we feel won’t be enjoyable, so think about why you will enjoy the outcome or the benefit you will get from your new habit. Use affirmations. Say them out loud. “I enjoy swimmimg / jogging / dancing / tennis.” “I feel happy and relaxed handing in my completed essay / report / work”. Affirmations should be positive (I enjoy, I love, etc and should be in the present tense, I am, I do, etc)

3. Just A Small Step

I call this “Just One”. You tell yourself you just have to do one (pushup, dish) or stick it for one minute (putting away laundry, filling the dishwasher) then you can stop. Allow yourself to stop after the one if you want, you can do another very soon but often, you will see that it is only a small job and you finish it in a very short time.

4. Reward yourself

I have motivation charts that I use to get me to do certain jobs. I award myself points for doing them (eg a point each time I climb the 3 flights of stairs or for making the bed) and a small monetary reward for so many points. I choose to give myself a dollar for 100 general points or for 50 exercise points. If funds are tight, be creative about your rewards: how about a 15 minute bubble bath or a visit to a favorite website?

5. Encourage yourself

Forming new habits and overcoming procrastination would be easy if we could just decide to change but it doesn’t usually work that way. Rather than making a “never again” vow, tell yourself it’s “just for today”. You can do the same again tomorrow. Step by step day by day is much easier to achieve.

6. Use A Project Motivation Chart

I have found that a Project Motivation Chart uses several of the above techniques and that of a Daruma doll in one easy colorful page. At least, it’s colorful AFTER you have colored it in! You put the chart somewhere prominent, so it provides a reminder (strategy 1). It has space for completing a small step (strategy 3), provides a means of rewarding yourself (strategy 4) and encourages you to complete a project (strategy 5). You complete it yourself so it will contain empty areas until you complete them (like a Daruma doll).

A Project Motivation Chart provides two scales. One is a timescale in days or weeks, or even months if you choose. This one gets filled in every day or week or month that passes, whether you have done anything or not. This provides the time pressure for those who need it and a visual reminder that the completion date is approaching for those suffering from student syndrome. The other scale is a picture or graphic with areas to be completed as you complete a step in your project. So if one of your steps is to read a chapter in a certain book, then you color or shade in one space on the graphic. It is obviously best if your graphic gets completed in step with, or even slightly ahead of your timescale (to allow for difficulties) but even if it falls behind, having it in a prominent place will remind you each day.

What Strategies do YOU use to overcome procrastination?

You can comment below.

Overcoming Fear Of Failure

We can all fear failure or even just taking that first step towards getting something done, even when we KNOW it will improve things and it can seem easier and less stressful to do nothing, no matter whether we need motivation for finals, motivational fulfillment or whatever. Quite often managers look for ways to motivate their staff, just VERY occasionally we find the staff or a friend working out how to motivate the boss! Here is Don’s story, told in his own words.

 

Don’s Story

I experience this exact same thing. The problem is to be able to get beyond the fear of failure. It is a very hard thing to beat. I even have a fear of trying new things. I own a stamp manufacturing company in Casper Wyoming. I bought it back in 1994. Like most things I do I just couldn’t leave the thing alone. I tinkered and played and did some things that were really dumb, but it all worked out. This story is about modernizing my equipment in order to expand further and faster. I was using a system to make stamps that was a multiple step process. Like five to six steps to get to a workable product. All of the steps were manual, hard to accomplish, and even harder to get right. I had increased the business so much that the stamp orders were falling behind. I was getting close to the maximum I could do with the equipment I currently had.

I had no trouble making the decision that I need to upgrade. I did the research and I knew the equipment I wanted to upgrade to. I flew down to Arizona and met with the manufacturer of the equipment and negotiated a really good deal on the equipment I needed. The expenditure was well over $40,000.00. The equipment arrived at my place of business and I set it all up. AND, there it sat for the next 3 months while I worked like a dog to get all the stamps out in a timely fashion.

You see this new system was a three step system. I could do all of the stamps I currently was doing in 1/3 of the time it was currently taking. But I was still procrastinating for whatever reason. I had lots of excuses. I didn’t really know how it would work. I didn’t know what types of problems I would face using the new equipment. blah, blah blah….. I really just don’t like new things, YET, I really do like new things, I bought it didn’t I. What the heck was my problem.

One day I came to work on a Saturday. There was a pot of flowers on top of the new equipment, they were beautiful, but they were on my new equipment, what the heck. Then I noticed there was a note stuck under the edge of the pot. It said, If we aren’t going to use this thing for anything else, I’m going to put flowers all over it. This was from a friend who had been watching my struggles with the old equipment while the new equipment just got dustier and dustier.

That was like the final straw. I took the flowers off of the top of the thing, dusted it all off, cleaned it and turned it on and just sat down and worked with it. Dang it was fun, and easy, OMG, it was easy! I loved that new equipment. I had to get over my fear of new stuff in order to get going on it.

Author Bio

This was written by Donald. You can see his stamps at http://bbrubberstamp.com/

So if you are procrastinating over getting something done, look out, if Don finds out, he may come over and plant some flowers in your computer box!

Do Just One Thing

Procrastination At Its Finest

Do Just One Thing
Do Something

Last Minute

A former colleague told me a story one time about a friend of his, a school teacher, who left school early on the last day of the school year to buy wallpaper and paste, so he could decorate a room in his house at a leisurely pace over the summer holidays. Two months later, on the last day before term started, he was rushing to start and finish the job! An example of procrastination at its finest?

Of course, he is not the only one. There are many examples of this type of procrastination and once you have sighed and blushed over these, I will give you Just One tip on how to avoid being one of these stories.

Student Syndrome

A recent study was run on “procrastination in schools” and the results were remarkable. Over 90% of students suffer from procrastination whether it involves tests, assignments, or exams. This tends to get worse as they grow older and does not fade away. This is often known as “student syndrome”, where the project has been given plenty of time for preparation, so the student puts off starting because they have “plenty of time” but of course, that time slips away. There is a book written for procrastinators in upper school and College for writing essays and even pulling an overnighter but you will need to know the material, unless it is a pure conjectural or fiction type of essay. I wish I had known about this book when I was in school but the author wasn’t even born then. It’s an excellent book and will only take about 2 hours to go through. You can even download it to a Kindle so you can get stuck in straight away. I have read it and used it during my doctoral studies but it is also useful for school pupils writing essays. It is called “Don’t Panic: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing an Effective Term Paper” by Steven Posusta.

There are a select few who can overcome this problem and continue to improve as students. The rest struggle and these bad habits continue even into academic life. Some academics in University seldom publish papers in journals (as they are required to do), they just don’t “get round to it”. There is a useful book available for them too, on writing a journal article in 12 weeks, based on a paper or essay they have already written, no matter how poor. Again, this is an extremely useful book but is aimed at academic journal articles in all fields. This book is called “Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success” by Wendy Belcher.

Biggest examples of procrastination?

Does it happen elsewhere? You KNOW it does!

Let’s take a peek at a few more stories.

1) Work Assignments

There is no better example than the employee with a major presentation coming up, and who delays preparing for it. After all, in the US, people are said to be more frightened of speaking in public than of death! You might feel comfortable about your knowledge on the topic and prefer to put off preparing. This happens all the time because people don’t want to do the work. You might know the topic, but is that a good reason to delay preparing? What if there are hitches along the way? Procrastination could lead to serious trouble, and it often does. Remember that old adage – To fail to Prepare is to Prepare to Fail.

2) Cleaning

Cleaning is another example of procrastination at its finest. People might have spring cleaning around the corner or just a general day where the rooms have to be vacuumed, and the dusting has to be done. Well, they will delay it to a point where the house is a mess, and it is hard to move around. The same goes for those who leave the dishes to the end of the night rather than doing them along the way. This leads to a pile of dirty dishes no one wants to look at.

There is a “Just One” tip below to help with this.

3) Confrontation

Ever felt like a person was bullying you? What about those were not doing their end of the bargain on a group project? It happens all the time, and certain people put off tackling it because they feel it will turn into confrontation and those repercussions can require further attention which frightens them, so they deny it is happening.

What To Do?

These are all examples of procrastination at its finest. There is a lot of risk attached to putting things off for so long, and it is rarely the right option. So what can you do?

Just One

My preferred option is doing “Just One” and I apply it to everything where I am likely to procrastinate. Just One, means exactly that. If I am procrastinating on putting the laundry away, I tell myself, “Just one item” or sometimes “just one minute”. I put away one item as I pass the laundry drier on the upper landing, even if it is only a hanky. It’s only one item BUT, it’s done, it’s away and I can do another one next time I pass. If it’s an essay, then “Just One” might mean “one minute”. I can pin a piece of paper to my noticeboard and write down 5 questions about the subject in that one minute. If someone is not pulling their weight on a project, I ask them for one minute of their time and say what I am doing, then ask for their comments. There is no confrontation and because the intervention happens with plenty of time before the project is due, it gives them a chance to overcome THEIR procrastination.

When you are confronted with a big task that you don’t know where to start, Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, just do something, JUST ONE. You will feel freer and an awful lot better. That dread in the pit of your stomach will start to lift and you will see a way through to completing it. Maybe not right away but you will find that path towards completion.

Carrying Through a Long Project

If you need to carry through a long project with several steps, you may find this new post on how to stop procrastinating helpful. It includes a visual tool for comparing what you have done with what still is left to do and because you stick it up somewhere you will see it every day, it provides a visual reminder of the undone project, rather like a Daruma doll, only it shows you what steps to take.

5 Tips For Procrastination When The Job Is Really Hard

Getting on when it's difficult
Getting on when it’s difficult

Procrastination – Is It Laziness?

Do you tend to procrastinate at work or when studying? Some people think they are being lazy when they find other activities to do instead of what they should be doing or that they feel they should be doing. Procrastination is putting off doing a particular job instead of just getting it done but there can be many reasons for this. Sometimes it’s boredom or dislike of routine jobs like washing dishes or cleaning the car but for many people, the job they are trying to do is just too hard or they don’t know how to go about it.

What is Procrastination?

Do you find yourself surfing the internet, playing a game or watching TV when you should be studying? Maybe you take a few more trips to the water cooler or the coffee machine or stay longer in the canteen instead of writing that report or getting out those figures? Maybe the dishes get done instead of the pile of ironing, or hanging a picture on the wall instead of decorating the spare room? That is procrastination – putting off doing something – avoiding it.

Sometimes it’s really hard

Not doing the dishes or washing the car may often be down to boredom but not studying for an exam or writing a big report may be because you simply don’t know how to do it or even how to get started. In work, often people think this kind of stuff was learned in school but that’s not always necessarily so. If you have a really big and hard job to do, then here are five tips to help you stop procrastinating and seeing yourself as lazy:

1. Get a Break Away.

If you are feeling very bad about this piece of work, whether it’s a report or studying, then sitting mulling over it or playing games instead of getting on with it won’t help. Take 5 minutes, half an hour, half a day or whatever you need to calm your feelings down. Sometimes time pressures won’t allow a long break but even 20 minutes kicking leaves under a tree in the park or even sitting in the peace of the nearest toilet cubicle can give you time to regroup your strength and deal with your feelings of anger, despair, fear or whatever.The break does NOT include sitting on the computer or other avoidance tactics. This is time to allow you to deal with feelings about this piece of work.

2. Find Support.

The best support is having someone to listen who will not interrupt or judge you. If you don’t have a close friend, then phone someone. If you really do not have anyone to talk to about this, then write down your thoughts in a journal. There are even online journals where you can write anonymously and no one will see it. Talk (or write or scribble or draw) about the problem. It’s fine to grumble about the people involved, the short timescale, the difficulties involved but NOT to be negative about yourself. You are NOT lazy or stupid. If you want to say something about yourself, then couch it in terms such as “I don’t YET know how to start on this”. You would be best to bin or burn any document like this after you finish it. You will have got rid of your negative feelings and you don’t need to re-energise them.

3. Make a checklist.

Task list for baby steps
Task list for baby steps

If you have terms of reference for a report or a feedback list of things to do or an item to study up on for a test, then draw up your own list of baby steps towards getting it done. Don’t use someone else’s list. I find the best way is to have 3 columns on a piece of paper, one for the list of baby steps and the other two columns to show what I have done and any extra work arising from that. I generally colour in the steps I have taken in green and the new steps that arise from that in red until I do those too, then I do those in green too. Seeing a list of checkmarks or green lines is motivating because it shows I am moving on with the work.

4. Ask For Help.

If making your checklist seems too difficult, then it’s time to ask for help, direction or support from the person who set you the task. They may not realise that the task is as difficult as it seems to you or they may have been unclear in their direction. It’s better to ask for direction while you still have time to complete the task, rather than complain you couldn’t do it when it’s already too late to do something about it.

5. Rebuild Your Passion.

If you are doing this for yourself, it’s much easier to work on it. Do you want to do well in your job, get an exam, be qualified to do a job you want? Then develop your passion for the job or the study. Work out WHY you want to do this in the first place. And remember, it’s always for YOU, even if someone else pushed you towards the goal in the first place. If you do not want this goal, then find the one you DO want and use these tips to reach that instead.

Avoiding Avoidance

Now I have procrastinated long enough – time to get back to my checklist of baby steps and tick a few more off the list!

8 Ways To Get Your Motivation Back

Laid Back
Light My Fire

Avoiding procrastination

If you are a procrastinator and find it hard to motivate yourself to start that project or get a piece of work done then these 8 top tips can help.

1. WHY?

Look at what needs to be done and ask yourself why you are doing it? Think of all the positive reasons for getting the job at hand started and what the end goal is. You should be able to come up with a few answers to motivate yourself. If you cant think of any answers it night be time to give up on that particular project.

2. CHUNK IT!

A big job can seem daunting but breaking a project down into manageable chunks can help you get started. Set attainable goals and be realistic. Once you’ve broken it down into chunks it can be helpful to get the parts you are dreading done first. This is called delayed gratification. Do the worst parts first then you can enjoy the easier parts without dread.

3. FAKE IT FIRST

Have you heard the phrase ‘fake it to make it’? Try telling yourself you will do just 5 minutes of the job at hand. More often than not once you’ve done the 5 minutes you will be engaged enough to carry on for longer.

4. FEELINGS

It might be helpful to think about what is stopping you. For example is it boredom, fear of failure, tiredness? Trying to sort through your feelings and dealing with them can free you up to get started.

5. PLAN

Planning can be key. You are much more likely to start a job if you have everything you need to do the job to hand. Try planning the night before by writing a list of work to be done and laying out everything you need ready to use the next day. For example if you are writing a report make sure you have all the books you need, staionery, computer desk is clear and organised etc.

6. SUPPORT

Get help if possible. Do you really need to do everything yourself or can you delegate or work in partnership? Spreading the work makes things easier and can be more enjoyable.

7. WHAT’s NEW?

Try something new. If you are doing a regular task that you dread try doing it in a different way. Hate mopping the floor? Put loud music on and have a good boogie as you mop. Writing a boring report – can you take a laptop and do it in a nice cafe? Shaking things up a bit can help.

8. STOP PERFECTIONISM!

Give up on perfectionism. Sometimes our quest for perfection stops us even starting. Accept that sometimes it better to get a task done even if its not perfect than to not even try.

Try to implement one or two of these tips and build on that and you should find yourself feeling refreshed and newly motivated, ready for anything and excited to get started!

http://www.motivation4success.net/5-tips-for-overcoming-procrastination/

5 Tips For Overcoming Procrastination

“Just 5 more minutes and I’ll get back to work.”

How many times do you tell yourself this exact statement every day? If you answered multiple times, you are definitely not alone. Millions of people the world over procrastinate to some degree. It’s just that some are chronic procrastinators. Their careers and personal lives get negatively affected because they keep putting off important tasks.

http://www.motivation4success.net/5-tips-for-overcoming-procrastination/Procrastination can compromise your health as well. Cramming for an exam or rushing to meet the project deadline often means not getting enough sleep. So how can you be more productive? Follow these tips for overcoming procrastination.

1. Admit that you’re a procrastinator

Recognizing the problem is an important step toward preparing you for the necessary changes to beat procrastination. If you find yourself consistently putting off important tasks for ones that you find more enjoyable, then you definitely have a problem.

2. Learn how to prioritize

Do you have a lengthy to-do list? If so, it’s often tempting to start with the ones that are easiest to accomplish. But tackling the hardest tasks first might prove to be more effective. This is because you usually have the most energy in the morning. If you feel like you’re at your best late in the afternoon, then feel free to adjust priorities. This involves trial and error, but knowing when you are at your most efficient can make a wealth of difference.

3. Block distractions

Distractions—both online and offline—can take away a significant chunk of your time. Fortunately, there are plenty of web browser add-ons that help eliminate distractions. These work by restricting your access to certain sites such as social media sites, forums and video streaming platforms. If you have a little technical knowhow, you can also access your computer’s hosts file to block your most accessed websites. While you’re at it, put your cellphone in silent mode while working or better yet, place it in another room so you won’t get tempted checking it over and over.

4. Take frequent breaks

Working for several hours can be taxing on anyone. It’s a good idea to break down your tasks into smaller ones, allowing you to take frequent breaks. The Pomodoro technique is something you might want to consider. This involves working for 25 minutes, followed by a rest period of 5 minutes. Do this repeatedly until you complete your 8-hour workday. Feel free to adjust your working sessions from 25 minutes to an hour or so if you find it more effective.

5. Reward yourself

Give yourself something to look forward to after finishing your tasks. For instance, you can tell yourself that you’ll grab your favorite ice cream once you tick off every item on your to-do list. This can serve as your motivation to get moving and make the most out of your time.

Overcoming procrastination can be challenging. But with the right frame of mind, you can surely beat it and become more efficient at managing your time. Now, the only thing left to do is to stop reading and get back to work!

http://www.motivation4success.net/how-to-declutter-your-home-for-good/

How To Declutter Your Home For Good

Are You Organized Yet

Please note, this page contains affiliate links.

In our materialist and consumer-oriented society, it is paradoxical that many people say they would love to own fewer things. Our houses are crammed full of all sorts of items that we do not really need. Imagine how much more pleasant it would be to live in a clean, well-organized home that only contained what was really important to you.

http://www.motivation4success.net/how-to-declutter-your-home-for-good/Learning how to declutter your home and pare down your possessions is important if you want to avoid becoming overwhelmed. However, this task can seem impossible. Where can you begin? The mere thought of sorting through everything that you own and deciding what to keep can make you feel defeated before you ever get started.

How To Begin To Organize

Fortunately, there are some simple tips that you can use to make this project a lot easier. First of all, it is important to start small. When you look athttps://amzn.to/2OZ6JYx your home as a whole, it is all too easy to give up in despair. Instead, pick a small section of your home and focus on that.

This can be a single room, or even a single corner of a room. Even clearing off a shelf can be enough to get you started. Organize that drawer in your kitchen that is crammed full of junk, or recycle those old magazines that have been sitting on your coffee table for months.

Start Small

Starting with a small, manageable project gives you an immediate taste of success that provides much-needed motivation. By choosing an area that you can clean up and organize in an hour or two, you will not get overwhelmed as easily. If you feel discouraged later on, you can always go back and look at that area to feel better.

Too often, people throw themselves into this process and feverishly try to work at breakneck speed for a few days. They may get a lot done, but then the motivation fades and they wind up back at square one. If you really want to get your house organized, you need to make sure that you make slow, steady progress.

Just One Step A Day

Rather than trying to get everything done in a long weekend, focus on doing a little bit every day. Even 20 to 30 minutes a day will add up over the long run. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish in this fashion. In addition, you will be less likely to burn out and give up quickly.

Try to develop a regular schedule for getting rid of clutter, instead of just doing it when you feel like it. Set aside a chunk of time each day when you focus on this task. Once it becomes a regular part of your daily routine, you will start doing it without even thinking about it.

Once you get over the initial hump, learning how to declutter your home is not as difficult as you might fear. You just need to get in the habit of keeping things organized. Before long, you will have pared down your possessions and your home will be a more pleasant place to live.

You can find more help on decluttering and how it can improve your health on this page.