Procrastination IV

We left off with developing strategies to handle the thoughts/cognitions causes of procrastination. This month we will devise some strategies to handle the behaviors and practical causes:

1. Interruptions – First, allow more time than you think you need to complete the task. Minimize interruptions by turning off visual and audio alerts on electronic devises. Make sure you have eaten and are hydrated. Purge your working memory by writing down everything you can think of – things you have to do, ideas you want to remember, and random thoughts. Finally, keep paper handy so you can write down anything that pops into your head while you are working on your task.

2. Disorganization – Clear the area where you will be working. Don’t worry about getting everything put away unless it will take less than 5 minutes. Make a list of all the supplies you need for your task, and then gather them into the location where you will be working.  

3. Lack of Information – Make a list of all the information you need and then one by one figure out how to get the information. Do you need to look in a filing cabinet? Search the internet? Ask someone else? If you are not sure how to get the information, how can you find out how to get the information?

4. Not Enough Time – Break the task down into small parts. There might be researching, shopping for supplies, or doing a small part of a larger job, such as cleaning out a drawer for the larger job of cleaning out a desk. If there still is not enough time, put each part on your calendar for a later date.

5. It Isn’t Due for a While – Break the task into parts and schedule each. Schedule some type of reward for yourself after completing each part on time. Also, you can schedule the parts of the task immediately before a scheduled event you enjoy so that you can’t start the enjoyable activity until the part of the task is completed.

6. You Want to Do it Perfectly – Recognize that you will never achieve perfection and determine what is “good enough”. If you procrastinate long enough you will rush to get it done and you will do a sub-par job. Telling yourself that it was only because you did it at the last minute or in a hurry is really a cop out. Free yourself by getting it done imperfectly instead of having it hanging out there waiting to be done.

What other strategies do you use?

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