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7 Ways to Conquer Procrastination

January 28, 2010

As Suzie (@AceConcierge) said on Twitter, procrastination is a killer.

Procrastination can be an illness. It’s not the purpose of this post to go into a psychological study. No, we’re just going to talk about that annoying habit we all have (at least once in a while) to push away those tasks we don’t like to do.

As procrastination often results from fear, anxiety or stress, it spirals into a vicious cycle. Having postponed a task leads to more stress and anxiety. As time passes by and the to do list becomes longer, you feel overwhelmed. Stress paralyzes you and you postpone once again.

Here are 7 ways I found effective to avoid procrastination.

1. Write a to-do list

This may seem so obvious, but it is effective. Seeing your tasks on paper gives you a clearer view of your day. To make it even more effective, write that list every night for the next day. Besides, there is something fulfilling in ticking off done tasks on that list.

2. Envision the task finished

When you are tempted to procrastinate, sit down for a minute. Envision the task done and finished. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment. Nurture that feeling for a minute, get up and start! Stay focused on that feeling until you’re done.

3. Eat small bites

Sometimes, a task, a project seems so big that we don’t know where to start. A good “trick” is to break that big project into small ones and organize them chronologically. Once again, write down all the steps. And start right away. Even if what you do is small compared to the whole project, performing a small part of it will give  you momentum to continue.

4. Prioritize

Let’s face it: all the tasks on your list don’t have the same priority. So, make sure you know exactly what really HAS to be done and what can wait. Don’t start your day with the unimportant tasks. That is a way to procrastinate the important tasks and to find excuses for not doing them.

5. Delegate

OK, we’re not good at everything. Everybody has a list of things that they consider as “chores”. So, our natural tendency is to postpone them. The good news is that you are not always forced to do them yourself. Is there a way to swap, trade, exchange those tasks with someone else? Is there a way to hire somebody to keep your house clean, to do your bookkeeping or to mow the lawn?

6. Set the clock

Here is a big secret: I hate ironing but I hate even more to wear wrinkled clothes or to spend money on dry cleaning. My trick to get the job done? When the ironing chore shows up, I look at the clock and promise myself not to quit ironing for a set amount of time. I focus on the task at hand and guess what?

7. Reward Yourself

In a certain way we all remain children. At least there is a child sleeping in each of us who needs to play. The adult side knows that duties are awaiting. Who wins? Well, both could. Do what you have to do and reward yourself (big or small) for having done it.

There you go… I had procrastinated to write this blog post. Now I’m going to reward myself 🙂


6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 3:06 PM

    Great article Nadia!!! You touched some really pertinent points here and thanks so much for the shout out. :]

    • January 30, 2010 1:21 PM

      Thanks for your kind words, Suzie. You deserve all the help I can provide, although very small. Have a wonderful day.

  2. January 28, 2010 6:50 PM

    “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

    Thanks for sharing with me and now I will pass it on for others, I promise I won’t put it off ’til later.

    • January 30, 2010 1:22 PM

      You are so right citing T. Roosevelt. Doing something is already doing a great thing.

  3. January 29, 2010 12:34 AM

    I like the “eat small bites”. It does help to do the big things first but sometimes, doing the small things can get you started in the right direction. Great Post!

    • January 30, 2010 1:24 PM

      You are right, as long as the small things are part of the big thing you want to achieve. Don’t let insignificant things blow a screen of smoke so that you forget about the big picture.

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