Maybe you think you do your best work under a looming deadline, but that's likely not the case--it's probably just when you finally kick things into gear. However, you can reduce stress, avoid making unnecessary mistakes, and streamline your career (and life) if you nix your bad procrastination habits. Easier said than done, right?
It's never too late to address bad habits. Here are a few surefire ways to ditch procrastination for good so that everyone (your family, spouse, boss, and friends) are much happier:
1. Learn the triage prioritization method
Name a few things that you do while procrastinating. It might be watching TV, perusing Facebook feeds, or even emptying the dishwasher, when you really need to be working on that report. Just like a medical professional, everything you do should be dictated by a triage method of prioritization. What's most pressing, but also what's important (as in there will be trouble if it's not done) and only takes a few seconds? Plan your moves accordingly.
2. Be realistic with time
This is arguably the toughest for a procrastinator to fix, but you probably don't realize just how much time a task will take--even if you've been having the same commute for years. However, focusing on time and giving yourself an expanding buffer is crucial. For a month, write down exactly how long it takes you to complete each task. You'll be surprised.
3. Institute a rewards system
Procrastinators often want instant gratification, and doing things they don't want to do (like making the bed) isn't offering that. To satiate that need, give yourself a rewards system. For example, if you do X tasks by X time, you ‘earn’ an extra 15 minutes of scrolling through celebrity gossip sites.
4. Get held accountable
If you have someone who can hold you accountable, such as a roommate or co-worker, give them a list of what you hope to succeed and ask them to check in with you. However, try to get someone on board you don't easily want to take advantage of. Otherwise, you may either come to resent them or they'll basically have a brand new (unpaid) job on their hands.
5. Write down the side effects
Every day, write down the negative side effects that happen when you procrastinate (with pen and paper). Include how it impacts you, your family and friends, your work, and your stress levels. Forcing self-reflection can force you to make changes when all else fails. Plus, it's a reminder that your actions, or lack thereof, are making a difference in the lives of others.
6. Get counseling
This might sound extreme, but the reality is just about anyone can benefit from a routine mental checkup (just like with any other part of their health). A therapist or counselor can help you get to the root of your procrastination issues, be one of the people who hold you accountable, and help you make positive changes for good.
It's not easy going from procrastinator to type-A, but it can make a fantastic change to your life.
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