OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION: Procrastination
is a habit, not a fatal flaw
persistence to change, but you can do it. Here's how:
your personal goals
and write down your personal goals. Post them on your
door, mirror, notebook -- so you'll see them frequently.
sure the task you think you "should" do is one that is
really important to you, that leads to your goal. If your
actions aren't in line with your intentions, perhaps you
should change your intentions: "I said I'd study history
now, but it's more important to rest after my test today.
I'll plan to do it tomorrow morning."
your time effectively
you don't know how to manage your time, learn.
your goal up into little parts. Write out and list the
steps you must take to accomplish your goal.
out a plan for yourself. Make a schedule.
a regular time each day to work toward your goal. Get
out of a disorganized lifestyle and make working toward
your goal part of your routine.
your environment, complete with the tools you'll need,
so it's conducive to working. Or...move yourself to an
environment which is conducive to working.
you aren't sure how to reach your goal, learn. For example,
if you aren't clear about an assignment, plan to consult
with your professor. Build this appointment into your
early. Build procrastination time into your schedule.
Call it "creative leisure."
small and easily. Build gradually.
you feel that the world is too difficult? That you are
inadequate to meet its challenges? That you cannot function
without a lot of approval? Are you frustrated with the
limitations of others? Expect nothing less of yourself
and others than perfection? Convinced that disaster hinges
on your actions? ... These are immobilizing, self-defeating,
avoidance-producing attitudes and beliefs. Recognize them
as such, and use them only to the extent that they are
helpful. Don't indulge them and don't believe them! Replace
them with self-enhancing beliefs and attitudes.
yourself of the emotional and physical consequences of
procrastination. Then remind yourself of the consequences
of not procrastinating.
on little bits and pieces of your project; don't think
"all or nothing."
a day, pretend that you are a well-organized non-procrastinator.
Imagine how you would think and behave. Then behave and
think that way ... even if only for a few minutes at a
your mistakes; don't judge them. What is curious, useful,
interesting about them? What is worthwhile? Anything worth
doing is worth doing badly.
your escapes and avoidances: self-indulgence? socializing?
reading? doing it yourself? over-doing it? running away?
day dreaming? Call yourself on them.
complain, and vent: don't hold it in ... or, hold it in,
if that works for you!
your friends. Set up a contract with someone to get something
done. Make an appointment to study with a friend who has
no difficulty studying. Make an appointment to consult
with someone who can help you with your task. Arrange
to meet with a friend for support, someone who'll listen
and who'll share your highs and lows.
something you normally do and enjoy contingent upon doing
the avoided task: "I'll work on my term paper in the library
half an hour before going to play racquetball."
your tasks visible in front of you: set up reminders,
signs, slogans, notes, lists.
your impulsiveness. When you get going, keep going. Do
something when you think of it -- don't think about it.
Do instant, tiny things.
something daily. Agree to start a project and stay with
it for 5 minutes. Consider another 5 minutes at the end
of the first.
priorities among tasks according to the degree of unpleasantness.
Start with the most unpleasant task and work down until
you get to the easier ones.
you've got something hard to do, rehearse it in your imagination
or with someone. Work the bugs out; don't terrify yourself.
sure the rest of your life is in good shape ... so your
awful task is less awful within the context of a good
general quality of life.
yourself time to change.
and forgive backsliding.
yourself credit for anything you do.
yourself a lot.