Countering Procrastination

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To procrastinate means to put off doing things without good reason. That's why almost all experts on time management agree that the best rule for getting results is ... Do it now! But, sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the size of a project or by the number of things you have to accomplish. Another possibility is that the task may be one you feel uncomfortable about ... like confronting another employee’s rudeness. When these issues surface, you need determination to forge ahead and discipline to stay on track. Otherwise, you may find yourself drifting toward a serious time problem and increasing feelings of frustration. 

Challenge Yourself 
Most procrastination is the result of faulty thinking. We put off a task not because it is that difficult but because it is unpleasant to us. Tell yourself, “I may not want to do it right now . . . but I’ll feel better once it’s completed. If you say, “But, I work better under pressure,” take a look at what the facts say. Does working under pressure increase your anxiety and, in truth, leave you feeling exhausted? These and similar questions can help to establish a realistic picture of your potential to do better by “doing it now.” 

Counter Through Divide & Counter 
Disciplining yourself to do something uncomfortable or time consuming helps to prove it wasn’t so bad after all ... and to reap the benefits. Let’s say you need to train a co-worker to take over an assignment, but, you also know the training will take a portion of your already limited time. Instead of procrastinating, get the co-worker started on the project a segment at a time. By the end of the week, the now partially trained employee will be able to carry out some of the tasks you would have done yourself, and you will be closer to easing your workload by balancing the distribution of work assignments. 

Bring Discipline Through Planning 
Schedule one activity from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. daily . . . then schedule another from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ... and so on. This structure will help you measure progress and reinforce your efforts to stay on the track of “doing it now” ... not later. Challenging your tendency to procrastinate can make your job easier to manage and less stressful ... and it can enhance your opportunities for meaningful accomplishment.