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Tips For Overcoming Procrastination

Do you have a hard time getting going on a project? Or maybe you start off fine, but run out of gas halfway through? You might even stay busy all the time, checking e-mail or re-organizing your desk — but not working on the really important tasks. You have a bad case of procrastination!

Acting Versus Planning

Checkmark-Iconstart with a written plan of action to avoid getting distracted

Xmark-Iconkeep your plan simple and straightforward

Checkmark-Iconstart with the one thing you must get done today to feel productive

Xmark-Iconshould be a manageable item you can complete in 10-15 minutes

Checkmark-Iconbreak the day up into a number of “action sessions” for other tasks

Xmark-Iconbalance the time spent planning with time spent creating or doing

Checkmark-Iconavoid over-planning — another method of procrastination

Xmark-Iconbefore ending your day, spend 10 minutes reviewing your progress

Checkmark-Icontake time to plan your actions for the next day

Be Vision-Directed

Xmark-Iconyour tasks should match your values or purpose

Checkmark-Iconif not, you will find it hard to summon the energy to tackle them

Xmark-Iconbring each task into congruence with your basic mission

Checkmark-Iconif you can’t, take it off of your list

Bite-Sized Is Easier To Swallow

Xmark-Icondon’t put any “to-do” on your list that takes more than 30 minutes

Checkmark-Iconif it takes longer, it’s actually a series of smaller “to-dos”

Xmark-Iconbreak each step out and list it separately

Checkmark-Iconyou don’t have to tackle all the steps of a project in one sitting

Xmark-Iconspread a large task out over several work sessions

Checkmark-Iconyou will see greater progress as you check more items off your list

Xmark-Iconyou will avoid getting bogged down in one large task or project

Commit To A Schedule

Checkmark-Icondetermine how much you can do or tolerate at a time

Xmark-Icondon’t push yourself too far or you’ll get bored or frustrated

Checkmark-Iconplan these project “pieces” into your daily activities

Xmark-Iconset a “completion point” for accomplishing each small task

Checkmark-Iconcompletion points give you an end in sight to look forward to

Good Enough Is Good Enough

Xmark-Icondon’t try to do everything perfectly

Checkmark-Iconperfectionism often causes procrastination

Xmark-Iconperfectionists would rather put it off than do an incomplete job

Checkmark-Iconrather than perfection, aim for progress

Xmark-Iconany small step toward completion is an accomplishment

Just Do It

Checkmark-Icondo the worst job (or part of the job) first and get it out of the way

Xmark-Icononce you tackle the part you are dreading, the rest is a breeze

Checkmark-Iconstop spending time planning and just jump into doing it

Xmark-Iconset a time limit — “I’ll file papers for 5 minutes”

Checkmark-Iconalternate unpleasant jobs with tasks you enjoy

Xmark-Icondelegate out items you can’t make yourself do

Plan Around Interruptions

Checkmark-Iconinterruptions tend to occur in identifiable patterns

Xmark-Iconnotice when interruptions occur, by whom, and why

Checkmark-Icontake steps to prevent those interruptions before they occur

Xmark-Iconif they can’t be prevented, learn how to delegate to someone else

Checkmark-Iconif they can’t be delegated, learn how to delay until you are finished

Remember To Make It Fun

Xmark-Iconmake the project and environment as pleasant as possible

Checkmark-Iconplay music, open a window, have a cold drink, etc.

Xmark-Icongive yourself the best tools and work space for the project

Checkmark-Icontake a few minutes to organize your work space

Xmark-Icona clean desk allows you to focus without visual distraction

Checkmark-Iconit’s only a chore if you think of it as a chore

Staying Motivated

Xmark-Iconfind an “accountability partner” to track your progress

Checkmark-Iconschedule a regular time to check in with a friend or colleague

Xmark-Iconrewarding your accomplishments encourages productivity

Checkmark-Icongive yourself a break, a treat, a nap — whatever is a reward for you

Xmark-Iconreward every step along the way, not just the result

Checkmark-Iconthe bigger the accomplishment, the bigger the reward

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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