6 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

I don’t typically think of myself as a procrastinator. I am decisive, meet deadlines and use lists to track long-term items. However, if I really look at how I work, I have to admit that sometimes I let things slide.


When you procrastinate, deadlines can be missed. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Unfortunately, I’ve done that a lot in the past few months. That’s when it hit me – I’m tired. So it was easier to not do the things on my list and to not respond to emails. Instead I’d mindlessly watched TV and became lost in a good book.And now I realize I’m really behind on several commitments. What to do?

As “they” say, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Okay, check. Now what?

I made a list of what I needed to do and then broke each item into smaller pieces because often what was stopping me was the fact that one item actually was four or five items and I didn’t have that much time or energy.

I was inspired to do this after a friend shared with me about her inspirational speech she gave at Toastmasters. The speech was built around five quotes, and this one really resonated with me: By the inch, it’s a cinch. By the mile, it’s a trial.

Writing everything down, although daunting, also was helpful. I then divided the list into reasonable chunks and set deadlines.

Next, I tackled the first chunk. I set aside most of a Saturday and made myself complete the items. It was a mix of home repairs and commitments to organizations so I went back and forth until that chunk was completed. I rewarded myself with a movie rental and crossing off all those items from the master list.

Suddenly, I could see progress and the items didn’t seem so overwhelming.

Inch by inch, you can overcome the procrastination. Here’s how:

  1. Admit you are procrastinating.
  2. Make a master list breaking each item into smaller pieces.
  3. Create chunks on which to work.
  4. Set deadlines.
  5. Tackle the first chunk.
  6. Celebrate.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 until you are back on track.

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