Putting off until tomorrow what you can do today can become a vicious cycle.
While procrastination is often looked at as a time management problem, it generally involves fear and anxiety: fear of failure, loss of self esteem, fear of boredom, lack of confidence and the like. Avoiding tasks leads to a reduction in anxiety -- a reward -- which reinforces procrastination as a response. Thus, procrastination becomes a habit
Here are some ways to get out of the procrastination rut:
- Understand your reasons for procrastinating. Understanding the hows and whys is the first step.
- Set deadlines. Schedule your work, make lists and put things on a calendar. Schedule your work like you schedule appointments.
- Break down tasks into steps. Break complex tasks into simpler steps and gain confidence from completing them. Also helpful here is tackling the least desirable steps first, thereby increasing your motivation to complete them.
- Prepare for the task early on even if you delay starting the work. Preparation will make the task easier and make it less likely to underestimate the amount of time needed for completion.
- Reward yourself. To counter the reward of procrastination, give yourself small rewards after completing steps toward task completion. For example, go on Facebook after you have completed some work, not before.
- Watch the self-talk. Notice how you are talking to yourself. Use non-judgmental language. Do not label yourself a procrastinator. Avoid the word "should".
- Involve others. Consult with others when you need advice or do not know how to do something. Announce your plans and deadlines to others -- this will help you become more accountable.
Today looks like a good day to start!