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~William James Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. ~Don Marquis Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday. ~Author Unknown Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back. ~Charles Kingsley The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up. ~Author Unknown If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done. ~Author Unknown Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment. ~Robert Benchley There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back. ~Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister Causes of procrastination - fear of failure Fear of failure is widely regarded as one of the main causes of procrastination. If you have a task to do and you're unsure of your ability to do it, then it's only natural that you'll put if off. You want to protect your own ego, and not have to admit that for whatever reason you can't successfully complete your job. The trick is to work out the exact reason why you're afraid of failing.
Often, you'll realise that there is some technical reason you don't want to attempt the task - that is, you just don't have the knowledge or skills required to do it. The answer is to be straight up about it with both yourself and others. Either you have to learn the skill to the point where you can do the task (in which case, you'll find that the task becomes rewarding once you are competent at it, rather than a driver for procrastination), or you have to delegate or abandon the task. Don't just leave it! We all know where that leads - a bad place of bad consequences in your life, and just more stress. Sometimes, there is nothing physically stopping you from doing the task, but the problem is all in your head. What are you afraid of? Perhaps it's looking like a fool if you fail, being embarrassed. Perhaps you don't want to fail for yourself - you feel like you just can't live with yourself if you fail. Perhaps you have a parent, spouse or co-worker who will censure and criticize you if you fail. Regardless, you have to realistically think to yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" In 99% of cases, the worst case scenario is some hurt feelings - and even that can be alleviated by teaching yourself to be a little more thick skinned. In any case, it's got to be better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all - think of that enormous stress you have to carry around when you don't even attempt the thing you're procrastinating about in the first place! The main lesson to take away is that failure is a natural part of life. Just because you fail once at a particular task doesn't mean that you yourself are a failure. The guy who doesn't try at all is the real loser, who doesn't have the courage to at least try once, and lives his life crippled by his fear and doubt. The guy who tries, fails, then picks himself, learns from his mistakes and tries again until he succeeds is the real winner - that takes real guts! But you'll find that the rewards and the boost to your self esteem far outweigh the pain of any purely temporary setbacks.
then there's no impetus pushing you forward to get you to act. 8) Try to minimize the personal problems which distract you from your important goals. It's also much easier to procrastinate if you don't have any set goal you want to accomplish! Obviously the first step in taking action is deciding what that action should be . 6) Ask for help if you need it . and then working out how you're going to accomplish each step and your time frame for doing it. concrete negative effects on your life . Once the problem is out in the open.schedule the time into your diary.admit you have a problem. or beat yourself because you procrastinate . What is this first step? Admitting that you have a problem admitting that you procrastinate! You actually have to acknowledge that you procrastinate and that it's a real problem for you. 3) Make a commitment as to when you're going to work on your task . then you'll find that the work pretty much falls into place. much like other psychological issues like drug and alcohol addiction.it doesn't mean you're a bad or worthless person! It just means you have a few mental blocks that need to be removed so you can get on with getting things done. . 5) It's sometimes easier to start a large task by getting the shorter. you can start making real steps towards change.don't wallow and procrastinate if you get stuck! 7) Try looking at your task in terms of the long term benefits to your life.What's the first step in overcoming procrastination? Many people wallow in unproductive procrastination because they never manage to get past even the first step in beating their procrastination habit. then this. It's also a really great feeling to just focus on doing the work you've set for yourself today. rather than mucking around all day and procrastinating because you don't even really know what you're supposed to be doing. or the role of the task in the big picture. 9) Relish your successes and don't beat yourself up about your failures . It's much easier to procrastinate if you don't have a set deadline looming over you.it is essential that they are concrete and that they have a deadline. "You can't win the race if you can't see the finish line.robbing you of time. As the saying goes. making you do a last minute.instead learn from them so you don't repeat your own mistakes! 10) Reward yourself when you finish something difficult or achieve a goal. 4) Break large challenging tasks into smaller incremental tasks that are easier to manage. no matter how small . Don't blame yourself. If you can make a good plan like this. So don't put your head in the sand about your procrastination and keep letting it silently ruin your life .and relax and have the occasional blowout after you've accomplished something major! Overcoming procrastination by choosing realistic goals Anyone who has ever read a book about motivation or procrastination will know how important it is to set goals. Procrastination is a very real problem in many people's lives and. and know that if you do this stuff today. 2) Make a list of reasons that you'll benefit when you achieve your goal. inadequate rush job on important tasks. then this. Especially if every day you're going to be doing this. If the goals you set don't have a deadline. you have to have the right type of goals . and adding massive amounts of stress to your life. then start doing something about it! 10 simple motivation tips 1) Set realistic goals that will be challenging but achievable. the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem." Moreover.which means breaking down your overall goal into manageable steps. easier task done first. then it's much easier to just get your materials together and get going. You have to acknowledge on a tangible level that you put things off that you need to be doing and that this habit is having real.
along with a deadline for achieving it. and you ve got one more day to do it. and who wants to get the job done but for everyone to be happy while they work.for example. flitting from task to task and never really getting anything substantial done. or you could do it tonight . doing a good a job and not getting too stressed out about it or working long hours . concrete plan of how you re going to get the rest of your project done in the time you have . Not the kind of boss you hate. and that you can t actually afford to take the day off today . what would the boss want me to do if I had one? A good manager would determine what the concrete desired end outcome is and create a fixed goal. then store it on top of your notes in your work area or stick it to the front of the fridge. Most of the time. Just whack out a reasonable plan. One way around this is to pretend that you have a boss. Here are some strategies to help you both relax and get your stuff done in these kinds of situations: 1) Make a plan Even if you do end up going to the beach (and you might have a good reason to). 2) Pretend you have an external boss Sometimes you sabotage yourself by not deciding on a concrete plan of action and you just meander around. and a set of requirements to determine when the goal is met.because you made your plan and got to it without fluffing around. It s a sunny day outside and you can t really be bothered writing that boring report. make a detailed. then good! Realism is your friend. but a boss who is strict but fair. Ask yourself. With a good plan and good goals you know that you can achieve your aim in the time required. All that time you re at the beach.so you put it off and go to the beach. your life would be measurably improved. For the planning process. and seeing that you have a tight deadline will help motivate you to get started right away.you're building on what you did yesterday. and setting yourself up for success tomorrow. The plan will be processing in the back of your mind throughout the day. however. The ever-increasing stress of NOT doing your work can grow to totally dominate your life and be very debilitating if left unchecked. Then he d break down the goal into step by step components along with deadlines and requirements for each step. Coping with self sabotage All procrastination is a form of self sabotage. and motivate the troops to get going.if this is the case. Then when you come to . Sometimes you just have to do what you ve got to do.not just waffle that would only be half way to accomplishing the task at hand. if you actually just do the things that you re putting off.because you know you ve got work to do and that you don t really have a firm plan for doing it. Perhaps after you made your plan you will see that you actually have more work than you thought.it s just the accumulation of habits. by working on it tonight and the following day. It s especially difficult to force yourself to do something you don t really want to be doing when there s no one breathing down your neck. so when you actually start working you ll have a real head start. it s useful to pretend that you are the boss and that you have to present a concrete plan to your superiors in the morning. Knowing that you have a decent plan for getting everything done means you can relax at the beach and not consciously stress about it all day. both from having the tangible end result achieved and the release of the stress and pressure you ve accumulated from not doing the task. make sure you haven t left anything out. This forces you create a realistic plan with concrete goals and deadlines . decisions and micro-actions that cause you to leave things undone. The thing is that no one actually sets out to sabotage their own lives . you can t really seem to relax .
with no wasted energy. The solution is to make and work from a good list. This one works even better if you do it the night before. Run through the steps you need to take in your mind. This means taking a moment to clear everything extraneous off your desk. 2) Make a list If you re like me. and sitting back in your chair. Make sure your desk is clear and organized. doing a little on this thing.your brain will be working subconsciously on the list over night. Once you start. focusing on the benefits of completing the task and how great you re going to feel once you ve got it off your plate. Make a list of all the main jobs you have to do today. Get everything out of your mind except for the task at hand. without thinking too much about the size or complexity of the plan as a whole. and especially well if you write your to-do list the night before too . closing your eyes. Your productivity will soar once you start consistently working from a list. assemble everything you need in one place . and you ll find yourself just nailing that to-do list like never before. then make bullet points of all the subtasks to complete each job. or in this work session. and you re clear. water bottle etc. you can just get down to it and focus on that small component of the overall job.actually work your plan. and just focusing on the task at hand. and by the end of the day you feel like you ve got nothing done. resource materials. Preparing to get your work done Here are three things you can do which will help you overcome the inertia of just getting started: 1) Clear the calculator Motivation expert Brian Tracy talks about clearing the calculator before you start. sometimes you just flounder around with no direction when you re trying to work. with only the stuff you need laid out exactly where you need it. pens and scrap paper. focused and ready to go. always building on the work you ve just done and getting everything done in a fraction of the time. a little on something else.all that messy stuff from the day up until now just slides away. you whack through them start to finish. If you have a good plan. and you ll feel fantastic about the way you re churning through your to-do list.all your notes. . This means you can just come in. 3) Prepare everything you need before you start Before you start. It s like pressing the Clear All button on a calculator . sit down and get started. and what your next task is. pretend you have this tough-but-fair boss telling you what needs to be done.
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