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Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'll work on my procrastination when I get around to it.

There's never a better time than now. It's just that procrastinators are likely to put off trying to fix their problems with procrastination.

We know it's a bad habit. We know we shouldn't do it. We know we need to be more productive. So how can we master the procrastination problem?

Perhaps the first step we could take is to figure out what is causing the procrastination. Is it just that we lack self-discipline, in general? If so, that's a way bigger issue than procrastination regarding a particular task. For self-discipline issues, I recommend you read Steve Pavlina's blog series on developing self-discipline. Let's take a look at other reasons we may be putting off handling a task or tasks:

Stress: When we're stressed, we often have a tough time focusing on the tasks we need to accomplish. We need to figure out what's stressing us out so we can remove the stress and get back on track.

Overwhelmed: Similarly to stress, when we have too much to do, we don't keep our eyes on the ball very well. We need to take a breath, step back, and prioritize. Every task hopefully doesn't have to be completed today. We can also take a look to see what tasks we might be able to share with others (you know, teamwork).

Don't understand: Often we procrastinate when we don't know how to do the task and are afraid to ask. Intimidation can get in the way, for sure. We don't want to look stupid. I advise others that you don't look stupid when you ask questions. It's when you don't ask questions and then can't get the job done that you look stupid.

People Issues: Sometimes we procrastinate because whoever we have to partner or coordinate with is someone we don't like, someone we have trouble relating to, or someone who makes us feel uncomfortable. Regardless, someone else is in the way. There's no rule that says we get to like who we work with. Often, dislike or discomfort stems from lack of communication. We need to act like mature professionals and put aside our biases because the other person is probably not going away and the task definitely isn't going away.

Are there other reasons that cause us to fall into the procrastination trap? What do you have to overcome to get tasks completed on time?

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