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How to Overcome Procrastination

Here are 11 common causes of procrastination plus practical steps you can take to overcome each one. If procrastination is something you struggle with, these steps will definitely help.

  1. Complicated-task anxiety: Break big, complicated tasks into smaller pieces. Complete a starter task, no matter how small.

  2. Fear of imperfection: Accept that perfection is rarely attainable and seldom necessary. You’re a person, not a robot. Use the 80/20 rule whenever appropriate.

  3. Indecision: Determine your decision-making criteria, then set a deadline for your decision. Ask a friend to hold you accountable.

  4. Priority confusion: Distinguish obligations from options. What are you really responsible for? List and prioritize tasks.

  5. Boredom from minutiae: Automate simple repetitive tasks whenever possible.

  6. Lack of focus: Minimize distractions. Check e-mail and voicemail only twice per day instead of every five minutes. Find a quiet room where you can concentrate. Resist the urge to keep taking breaks. Commit to working a defined amount of time then set a timer.

  7. Poor organizational skills: Clean your work area. Put tools and utensils in their proper place so you can find them when you need them.

  8. Laziness: Remind yourself of the consequences of procrastination. Resist the urge to be a couch potato. Try to complete several small tasks to provide a feeling of accomplishment. Develop the "do it now" habit. Reward yourself.

  9. Lack of energy: Maintain a regular sleep routine. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Do not skip breakfast.

  10. Early morning lag: Before you stop working each day, make a list of the tasks you want to begin first thing the following morning so you can hit the ground running the next day.

  11. Post-lunch fatigue: Before leaving for lunch, make a list of the things you plan to do when you return so you can pick up where you left off. Avoid eating a heavy lunch.

Remember, you control your thoughts and actions. Think and act wisely!


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