Hi, my name is dizzy (chorus) Hi dizzy I just wanted you all to know that I am a procrastinator (applause)

I've made some small steps to overcoming my procrastination problems. I've included 2 of the methods that have worked the best for me below, in the hopes that others will follow suit.

(yes, I fully appreciate the irony of writing about procrastination in E2 :)

First Tip: Delay rewards until you finish a task

This method works best with small, often repeated, easily completed but much disliked tasks. The trick is to deny yourself something nice until you complete that niggling little job that you hate doing. Examples:

  1. Don't go for coffee in the morning until you've made a plan for the day
  2. Don't surf the web or hit E2 until you've made that phonecall
  3. Don't eat that chocolate bar until you've taken out the rubbish
  4. Don't go and watch a movie until you've done the washing up.

Each of these disliked tasks are quick to complete, but often left until the last minute, or never tackled. If you want to, you can match the level of dislike for a task to the level of delayed reward; 1) above is a lesser reward/task combination than 4)

I read about this method in Scott M Peck's book The road less travelled

Second Tip: It won't hurt you!

This method is a little more obscure than the last and works best on feared or new tasks. Essentially, you visualise the task as a metaphor and add to this metaphor until you feel good about the job at hand.

Imagine a plank of wood, 1 foot wide, 2 inches thick and 100 yards long, lying on a grassy field. It's easy to picture yourself walking across the plank without falling off. This is a much liked task, like surfing the net or writing letters or emails.

Now imagine the same plank suspended between two buildings 1000 feet off the ground. It's windy up here. The plank is swaying - it's not secured and it's a long way down. How easy is it to walk across now? I know I couldn't do it! This is a hated chore - why don't you want to walk across/finish the job? Because you are being told that you will fall (or fail) There's a little voice inside us all telling us (to a greater or lesser extent) that we will fall, that we're no good.

Still atop the building, now imagine that someone has set fire to the base of the building you're on and there's no way down! The pressure to get across is much higher now; so much so that you will get across any which way - Crawling or sliding with your eyes tightly shut. This is how I feel about many chores - I know I have to do it, I have no choice, so I get it done with the minimum effort and do a poor job.

Now imagine that the plank has a safety net underneath it and that you have a parachute and safety ropes to prevent you falling. Suddenly it's easier (perhaps not much) to walk across. You know that if you fall, things won't be so bad. Overcoming the fear of failure can be the first step that gets me started on a chore. Making the scene safe helps you to realise that this task isn't so important, or that failure isn't as bad as you're making it out to be.

This is how I've overcome some much feared tasks. I've tried to visualise the task as something bad, then adjusted the scene to make sure I'm safe. It may seem that this won't work, but don't knock the power of your mind - give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.

I learned this technique from Neil Fiore's book The Now Habit (all about procrastination and quite good so far (I'm about halfway through - I keep putting it off :)


Anyway, if you've got any tips, add 'em below!

One of the ways I overcome procrastination is by writing down everything I need to do and then checking it off. I have convinced myself so many times that I have too much stuff to do and no time to do it so one of my procrastination tactics is to spend all my time thinking of what I have to do and how to do it. If I do any one of the things I need to do, I then sit down and redo my whole list in my head, thereby wasting more time. So by writing down what I have to do and checking it off, I force myself not to waste time reorganinizing. I also use this to keep focused while doing a task. If something pops into my head I write it down and finish the task at hand then go back and add my idea into my list of things to do.

Celebrate your successes! Make sure you are successful!

I've found I procrastinate more the fewer successes I've had in the past few days. Set some small tasks up that provide you with an easy to accomplish task that is meaningful to you and succeed. When you have success, whether large or small, celebrate it and look forward to your next success. Don't celebrate by doing something lazy though - pick something that is fun, but won't drag you down (video games suck you in and drag you down - many things are similar).
As suggested by Tony Robbins:

If you procrastinate, the best way to stop is to put it off. Say "I'll procrastinate later, I'm too busy to do it right now."

Simple as it sounds, it works.

YMMV

The (10+2)*5 Procrastination Hack from www.43folders.com

This is a fairly effective way to get stuff done. www.43folders.com states that it is for "procrastinators, the easily distracted, compulsive web-surfers, people with a long list of very short tasks (a/k/a “mosquitos”), people having trouble chipping away at very large tasks". SO, basically anyone with stuff to get done.

To implement the (10+2)*5 hack you will need: a timer (preferably one that is easy to reset), a few tasks that can be completed in 10 minutes, or a large task that can be broken down and worked on in 10 minute sections, and at least an hour of time to do this/these tasks (otherwise, why bother?)

GO!
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Work for that 10 minutes with a fierce single-mindedness. Don't cheat! Either complete your task, or work for 10 minutes solid, whichever comes first. Ding!
Okay, take your 2 minute break. Go, surf E2, eat a snack, something. You are not allowed to skip this break! Even if you are on a roll, you must take a break! This way, you will be excited to go back to your task at the end of two minutes.
Now, repeat 5 times for a total of an hour of work/break time! You've been so productive!

You can change the time increments if you like, adapt it to your needs. The key is tricking yourself into working with the ever eminent reward of a break.

I really have to go write that term paper now....

Okay, you've caught me. The hack is that eventually you will want to skip breaks, and you will end up working for an hour solid without even realizing it. Go visit ww.43folders.com for more useful stuff.

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