Dec 31, 2009

How to Overcome Procastination

Fix the root cause:

1. Procrastination due to dislike of an activity
If you procrastinate because you don’t like a task, look for ways to increase task appeal such as:
  • Make it into a game, and keep score.
  • Make it into a game, competing with others.
  • Listen to upbeat music while doing it.  Schedule a reward immediately after you complete it.
2. Procrastination due to overwhelm
If you’re avoiding a task because it is lengthy and overwhelming, then “divide and conquer”:

  • Break the large task into separate, short-term segments.
  • Then check off each segment as an accomplished short-term task.
 3. Procrastination due to inertia
If you procrastinate because you have difficulty initiating a task, create something to react to. Tasks that can be reacted to are easier to begin than those that you must initiate yourself.

  • Work on the task with others – then you can react to their questions, emails, etc.
  • Establish a deadline with your supervisor.
 4. Procrastination due to lack of organization
Sometimes we procrastinate on beginning a large project because we haven’t organized the task and don’t know where to start. If you can’t seem to get a project organized:

  • Think through the task.
  • Talk with your supervisor or collaborators to plan it.
  • Break the larger task into do-able segments.
  • Create a list of resources and supplies needed to accomplish the task. 
  • Create a timeline for the task.
  • Then schedule the first segment of the task.
  • Create an email or text reminder for this segment.
 5. Procrastination on difficult tasks
Not all tasks can be made easy, but if you find a task particularly difficult, you must analyze how it can become easier.
  • Do you need help?
  • More training?
  • More practice?
  • More assistance from other?
  • Analyze what is making the task so difficult, and then get the help you need to succeed.
     6. Procrastination at certain times of day
    More challenging tasks should be done at whatever time of day you seem to feel more focused and energetic. Take note of your daily rhythms, and then try to schedule the most avoided tasks for the time of day when you’ll have more energy to tackle them.

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