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Stop Procrastinating!

November 30, 2017

Procrastination is a passionate pastime for many Americans. And breaking this bad habit can be an exhausting challenge. However, if we take steps to understand why we put things off to the last minute it could keep us from procrastinating like there’s no tomorrow.

We feel overwhelmed with work and overloaded.  We have difficulty prioritizing.  We have a terrible sense of time management.  We fear failure and put off tasks rather than asking for help.  We delay decision making until we have no choice at all but to accept the consequences of our procrastinating ways. All of these situations create tremendous stress in the life of the procrastinator.

Studies show 95 percent of us say we procrastinate and of these, 20 percent say it is a problem.

A procrastinator prefers menial tasks, has poor time estimates, worries, focuses on the past and does not act on their intentions.  Many of the personality traits are; perfectionism, low self esteem, anxiety or depression and disorganization.  Procrastinators lie to themselves and many times say, “I work better under pressure.”

The longer you put off the task the more the stress builds.  According to a study from Carleton University, procrastinators are more likely to get the flu, suffer from digestive problems and use alcohol.  Sometimes procrastination can even lead to criminal behavior.

It is difficult to break the habit of procrastination.  There is shame associated with procrastination.  You can become overcommitted or lie about the task you are supposed to complete so you feel guilty and this exacerbates low self-esteem and self-loathing.  You can get depressed and have tremendous stress because you feel like you are always behind and time is your enemy.

Procrastination can be a serious condition with immense stress that can wreak havoc with your personal and professional life.  Procrastination causes businesses untold losses of money, productivity, and illness.

6 Mindful Tips to Help You Overcome Procrastination
  1. Repeat positive affirmations.  Stop your self-hate talk and thinking.  Empower your self with positive words.  We have research that tells us positive affirmations reduce stress, clear and center the mind.  You may change your self-talk to, “This is a challenge,” “I will learn a lot doing this project,” “I am focused and organized.”  Create your own positive affirmation and keep repeating it over as you take deep breaths.
  2. Create lists.  Creating lists by writing everything down removes the tasks from your mind and body.  Lists allow you to see your priorities and experience great satisfaction when you cross items off your list.
  3. Make folders. Make a folder or sheet of paper for each task.  Break the task into smaller pieces so it doesn’t overwhelm you.  Make sure to tie dates to each task so you stay on a schedule.  You will develop confidence, power and reduce your stress.
  4. Time management.  Be realistic about how much time it will take to do the project.  Don’t underestimate the amount of time.  This is a crucial step because you may need to say no to other projects instead of getting overloaded.  You live with less stress when you feel like you are in control.
  5. Buddy system.  If you have a partner, spouse, roommate or coworker, enlist them to keep you on task.  The members of 12 step programs and support groups experience great success because of incredible group support.  Tell others you have made a commitment to stop the procrastination that has stressed and disrupted your life.
  6. Reward yourself.  Don’t forget to celebrate as you begin to feel the self-esteem, power, and success of ridding your life of the stress and anxiety of procrastination.
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