We’ve all done it, put things off, delayed doing things, thinking that it will somehow be easier, or more interesting, at some time other than now. But then we get stressed out, and feel under pressure because our “to do” list has grown and our time allotment has shrunk. Why do we do this to ourselves? Procrastination is not laziness, it is an active process of delaying things until we “feel better” about them. It’s a kind of perfectionism in the sense that we think everything has to be “just right” when in reality, there’s no time like the present, and we really “feel better” when we have gotten something done. If procrastination is becoming a habit, there are things we can do about it. First, address what is making you uncomfortable about completing a necessary task. It the task seems too daunting or overwhelming, break it down into smaller chunks, and start from there. Once you get going, you’ll start to feel a sense of accomplishment, and the rest will go much more easily. Another strategy is to sit yourself down with a timer give yourself 10 or 15 minutes on the clock to get as far as you can into the task. Chances are, once the time is up you’ll be so involved that you’ll be happy to keep going until you finish. And you can also reward yourself for the completion of a task. We may readily put off something that makes us uncomfortable, but we are less likely to delay gratification. The reward can be anything that will spur you to action: a dinner out, a new DVD, or a bubble bath, for example.
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Lissa Coffey is an author, media personality, and the founder of CoffeyTalk.com (Reprinted with permission Copyright © Bamboo Entertainment, Inc.)