Are you a perfectionist who dreads doing anything unless you can do it flawlessly? Are you a dreamer who has big ideas, but hates doing the details? Or do you simply dread the task at hand and go out of your way to avoid it?
Knowing the reasons to put things off will help tailor a plan to stop dillydallying and get things done. Here are some strategies for each type of procrastinator:
- Prioritize in order of importance and urgency. Better to spend the day doing a fair job on a high priority task than a stellar job on a less important assignment.
- Set deadlines and enforce them. Have a friend check in and make sure you’re staying on track.
- Maintain high standards, but recognize when “good enough” is appropriate.
- Design clear, specific attainable goals to enable the vision.
- Get organized and make a plan. Have all materials ready before beginning the job.
- Avoid distractions and discourage interruptions like the phone, Internet, e-mail and other people.
- Remember, the importance of “doing” over wishing and thinking. Throwing yourself into an activity will feel better and build momentum to accomplish even more.
- Break down big projects into small, manageable sub-parts. It will be easier to dive in and get things done if done piece-by-piece.
- Try doing things you normally avoid early in the day. This will allow the normal dread to be released and a sense of energy and accomplishment to be had for the rest of the day.
- Set a goal for the next 15 minutes to work on a dreaded task.
- Reward completion of a major task.
No matter why you’re putting things off, recognize that procrastination stems from habit — and the best way to break a habit is to replace it with a new behavior. Next time you feel stuck, ask yourself, “Is there anything, no matter how small that I can get started on?” If you can do just that, you will break the cycle of procrastination and stay on track.