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How To Out Run Procrastination


If you are a true procrastinator, like me, just the word ‘procrastination’ can set off angry bells in your head. Most of us, who have waded through bouts of procrastination over the years as we ran everything down to the wire, tend to react negatively when confronted with the term.

Over time, we have developed ways to move ahead and make life happen in spite of the challenge to linger and dawdle. But it was not easy.

Getting Down to Real Answers

In college I came nose to nose with this. I was on a scholarship and had to maintain a grade average, and I tended to let things slide to the edge, often. In high school it worked just fine and I slid on through. But in college, also working a part-time job, I quickly realized if I did not stay up with some of the work I would drown and my scholarship would simply float away.

That’s when I really started to work on the problem. My efforts were up and down, but out of it came a few pretty workable tricks. Most of these approaches could work as well for job tasks as they do for school assignments.

Take Some Different Approaches

If you can sit down and do ten or fifteen percent of a project, you might just power ahead and finish it. I would start with a fresh sheet for a writing assignment, make a few notes, and then often keep going, finishing it in spite of myself.

Another way to head off disaster worked for me when I moved dates up. If there was a major exam coming I psyched myself into doing some preliminary work the weekend before. Then the week before the exam I was still carrying this material around in my head and my brain often worked on it while I was not looking. So by the time the exam hit I was ready.

I also carried a little notepad with me and jotted down reminders, impressions, questions and facts about classes and subjects, whenever I thought of them. Then sometimes when I was faced with new assignments, something in the running notepad list would jump out as a good topic that helped to quickly create an assignment.

Lifehack also recommends using exercise to drum up the endorphins and keep your mood positive. They also endorse mini task approaches where you start with a few notes that can often lead to finished work.

Or they suggest latching onto someone who will agree to be your task reminder person. This has to be a good friend or close relative that knows you need the reminder and won’t be offended by your snappy responses. They also suggest adding red and blue to your workplace. Red increases attention to detail and blue may spark creativity. Finally they recommend assigning times for tasks and slots for breaks.

Whatever works, big or small tips, will probably help to get you off of dead center, and help you figure out new ways to get to where you need to be.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Jeffrey Zeldman

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