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Procrastination

Procrastination is when we delay or put off something we know is to our benefit. The key is to stop making excuses and do something.

Most people practice procrastination. What is important is to know when it is time to stop making excuses and do something. Here are some strategies that might help you. Remember - it is important to find strategies that work for you.

Strategies to overcome Procrastination

Take Action Sometimes just doing something creates the mood and momentum to continue, so decide to just do something, anything to get you
Salami Technique Slice a task or goal down by function and time, getting down to smallest unit. This is useful if your excuse for putting it off is that it's so big or you have so much to do can't start. For example, a long reading assignment in a difficult subject can seem intimidating and easy to put off, divide it into
Five minutes Spending just 5 minutes, anyone can do that short a time and then see
Related tasks Do something related; the back door approach. For example, if you have to start a project maybe decide to just go talk to someone about it; this in turn may lead you to the library because they suggest a reference. Often it can be easier to talk to someone then having to sit down and
Worst first That particularly boring or difficult task is easy to put off, in fact you'll do anything not to get it done but better to get it out of the way. Mark Twain said something to the effect, "It's best to eat a live frog first thing in the …"
Make commitments An oft-used excuse is "I work better under pressure", so create pressure. Tell people you plan to get something done, and then they'll ask if you got it done.

Why do you Procrastinate?

There are many reasons why we procrastinate. Sometimes we just can't get started, some people fear failure and therefore don't start. Some other people fear success and having to meet high expectations all the time. Can you ask yourself what your reasons are for procrastinating?

In some cases procrastination is positive. Consider the following possibilities:

1. Procrastinate deliberately: You might discover that if you can choose to procrastinate, you can also choose not to procrastinate.
2. Observe your procrastination:

Instead of doing something about it, look carefully at the process and its consequences. Avoid judgements. Be a scientist and collects the facts.

Procrastination Exercise

Think about one problem that might develop [or has already developed for you] and that leads to procrastination.

  1. Describe the problem:
  2. What is the source of the problem:
  3. What is the reason for the problem:
  4. Can you set a goal for a solution [be specific]:
  5. With your goal in mind what Options can you have [be practical in deciding your options]:
  6. What are the advantages of each of your options:
  7. What are the disadvantages of each of your options:

Useful resources

For a great range resources on time-management, in a variety of formats, Click here to enrol the SLD Blackboard module.