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How To Stop Procrastinating And Start Accomplishing
Do you procrastinate? If you have a growing list of unfinished projects, you might recognize your behavior as procrastination. Moving past procrastination helps you accomplish your goals. Here are five tips to stop procrastination and get the job done.
Break Big Projects into Smaller Tasks
Having a big project or goal in front of you can be intimidating. It’s hard to get started when there seems like too much to do. You can stop procrastination by breaking big projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. By completing one step at a time, you can accomplish more significant things.
Would you like to clean out your garage or basement? You know you could use the space, but the size of the mess seems overwhelming. Stop procrastinating! Decide you will organize the items along one wall or in one corner. Don’t worry about the rest of the space; just finish the area in front of you. Go back to the project next weekend and work on another wall or corner. After a few weekends, the whole area will be clean.
Finishing a small part of a big job builds your confidence. Instead of thinking that you don’t have the time or energy to do the whole thing, you’ll know you did some of it. Now the project doesn’t look as big, because some of it is already done. The next time you work at it, it’s easier to get started on another section because you’ve already accomplished part of the goal.
Make the Project Meaningful
Many people procrastinate because they don’t see any value in doing a project. You might not plant a tree if you’re moving and won’t be living there to enjoy the shade in a few years. But if a tree adds value to your home and you can sell it for more, you will reconsider the benefit of planting it. You are less likely to procrastinate if your action has a definite advantage.
At work, people will procrastinate finishing assignments or joining a team if they don’t see any benefit for them. But if their work rewards extra effort with bonuses or raises, they will stop procrastinating and take action. It’s harder to procrastinate when you know that you will receive something positive when you finish.
Do the Worst First
Researchers at Columbia University suggest this plan to stop procrastinating:
• Focus on a project you are putting off
• Look at which part of the project bothers you the most
• Consider the negative consequences of not doing the project
• Avoid excuses and wasting time instead of doing the project
To move forward, researchers suggest doing the most unpleasant part of the project first. Once the worst is over, the rest of the project becomes easier. Are you procrastinating about painting your kitchen? If picking a color is stopping you, go to the store and get samples so you can decide and move forward. If you’re worried about not being able to cook for a few days, make some meals ahead or arrange for take-out so you can stop procrastinating and get the job done.
Set a Deadline
If having a deadline motivates you, set deadlines for the things you’ve been putting off. Instead of dreaming about losing weight, plan to lose 10 pounds by Christmas. Would you like to learn to play an instrument? Book a lesson this week. Create a calendar of due dates, so you will get things done.
A deadline is no good if you keep moving it further away. Hold yourself accountable to your deadlines by sharing them with someone else. Telling a friend or coworker that you are signing up for a class this semester makes it real. The person you tell can encourage you and help you stop procrastinating.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Perfectionists often procrastinate because they don’t think their work is good enough and they need to do more to complete the job. Not finishing something is a form of procrastination, especially for people who are never quite finished with a project. Scientists at Brown University say that to stop procrastinating, you need to set reasonable expectations when you start something.
Your paintings or crafts may not be perfect, but they may make treasured gifts to friends. Your cake may be a bit lopsided, but if it tastes good, your guests will enjoy eating it. You can stop procrastinating if you stop trying to create a masterpiece and accept your best efforts as reasonable instead.
Procrastination wastes time and keeps you from reaching your goals. Stop procrastinating and move forward by following these five tips.
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