Graduating from Procrastination

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Procrastination. We all do it. Maybe you see it as a bad habit you’re trying to stop. Or you see it as an asset because you “work best under pressure.”

But if you always leave things to the last minute, is that really true? Either way, leaving yourself more time and systematically working on something can’t hurt.

According to a study at the McCraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University, “our reasons for delaying and avoiding [tasks] are rooted in fear and anxiety-about doing poorly, of doing too well, of losing control, of looking stupid, of having one’s sense of self or self-concept challenged.”

In short, we put tasks off that we don’t want to do. And we don’t want to do them because we’re afraid we’ll fail.

So how do we get over the fear? And get started accomplishing our goals?

Here are four steps to help you graduate from procrastination.

1) Figure out WHY you procrastinate.

What are your procrastination habits?

How do you feel when you procrastinate?

Why are you avoiding certain tasks?

What are you afraid of?

Becoming aware of why you procrastinate will help you stop.

2) Figure out why this task/goal/project is on your list.

Why do you want to do this at all? Connecting to what you want rather than what you’re afraid of will help you stay motivated to get everything done.

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3) Break your project into smaller tasks (and add them to your schedule accordingly).

Breaking projects down into smaller tasks makes it feel less intimidating. And crossing things off your list helps you build momentum. (And you can reward yourself as you cross them off!)

But make sure you’re adding them to your schedule realistically – if something is going to take an hour, give yourself the full hour to get it done. Otherwise, you’ll start to feel like you’re falling behind and might be less motivated to keep going.

4) Encourage yourself.

Listen to your thoughts. Are they helping you or hurting you? Princeton’s study advises to “talk to yourself in ways that remind you of your goals and replace old, counter-productive habits of self-talk.

Instead of saying, “I wish I hadn’t…” say, “I will …””

Check out the entire study here.

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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