You’ve been meaning to make a doctor’s appointment/reorganize the shelves/have the oil changed, but you keep putting it off.
Sound familiar? If you occasionally procrastinate, these simple measures will help you take a more proactive approach:
Start with the understanding that you won’t complete the work right away, says Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit.
Procrastinators often strive for perfection, so making initial, incomplete steps may be a turn-off.
Delve in despite discomfort. Some tasks are boring, while others may be too “hard.” You have to practice making it past your initial resistance often enough to develop a “do it now” mentality.
Remove obstacles. Most people will need to put up barriers to distractions. “It’s more than turning off the TV,” Fiore says. “I take the batteries out of the remote and unplug the television.”
Tell yourself that you have to start, not finish. Set a time frame for the task, even if it’s only five minutes. After the five minutes, you can choose to stick with it or not.
Break a task into manageable pieces. That’s one way to reach the finish line sooner. Once you’ve finished one chunk, you can schedule the rest for later.
Reward yourself for being focused. After a 30-minute block of time, allow yourself to check e-mail or do something else you enjoy.
— Adapted from “How to Put a Stop to Putting Things Off,” Christina Breda Antoniades, The Washington Post.
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