Ways to Stop Procrastinating

f you have a tendency to push things off, chances are you do it in your professional AND your social life. Best not to let it become a habit.

1. Schedule

Schedule your time appropriately. Have a calendar and mark down all important events and dates.Make daily schedules and to-do lists, but make sure you stick to them, or they become self-defeating, e.g., just something else to ignore.

Work on hard things when you’re most productive–i.e., if you’re a morning person, get to work at the crack of dawn; if your best time is after lunch, schedule a rough appointment then.

2. Visualize your time.

Calendaring your important dates and deadlines allows you to see visually what’s going on — when it’s hectic, when it isn’t. This allows you to be realistic in your planning.

3. Stick to your goals.

Break large projects down into smaller bites. If you have a big report due at the end of the week, schedule time to work on it every day.

4. Set deadlines and remember your kids are watching.

When you set a deadline, you put more direction and perspective into your goals. Challenge yourself with deadlines. Track yourself and use your discipline. You set them yourself, so it’s your pleasure to complete them!Another great impetus to improve in this area is–if you have kids, realize what an example you’re setting. Want your kids to grow up procrastinators? I think not! Monkey see, monkey do.

5. Get a coach. (Tell someone.)

This will give added accountability and support. If your friend knows you have a deadline coming up, he or she won’t expect you to do something with or for them at the same time. A coach can work with you over a period of months in a supportive atmosphere until you’ve formed new habits.

6. Post-it notes.

How did we live without them? Stick them on the dashboard, on the computer monitor, on your chair, on your office door, on the Wall Street Journal. Wherever you’re likely to run into them. They’ll jog your memory.

7. Use tech-reminders.

Palm Pilot, calendaring program, alarm clock, whatever it takes.

8. Don’t distract yourself.

Yes, you’re in control. Nothing’s distracting you, you’re allowing yourself to be distracted. Screen your phone calls, don’t go browsing on the Internet, let your email go, don’t check messages on your answering machine, bury the remote, and don’t go wandering down the hall at work. All those great distracters will still be there when you’re through and will be, yes, something nice to look forward to.

9. The carrot.

Reward yourself for a job well done. A good bit of the time, that’ll be the only form of reinforcement. Frankly I’ll kill the next person who tells me to “take a warm bath,” but I find all sorts of ways to tell myself “job well done” that suit just me. One thing I do is really sit back and appreciate what I need; when you learn to work for yourself, not for someone else, it removes a lot of potential wind from your sails. Why do I scrub baseboards? Because they look so darn good afterwards, and sometimes I’m the only one who knows.

10. The stick.

The carrot and the stick … reward and punishment. Okay, we aren’t kids any more, but don’t forget — it works. If you need a jolt to get out of the procrastination habit, do it yourself–better that than letting down a loved one, annoying your kids, getting fired, or losing friends. Be creative and mild, but make an impression on yourself. As if having to stay up all night to finish a procrastinated-project weren’t enough.

Originally submitted by Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology, The original source is: Justin Becker, askmen.com.

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