Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

appointment-15979_1920I have this really big assignment due. It’s going to take me lots of concentration and tedious work to get it done. Honestly, I don’t want to do it and I have been procrastinating.

Daily, I find lots of distractions and more interesting ways to spend my time. But in the back of my mind, I know that assignment is lurking, making me a bit anxious as it has to get done. I am procrastinating and I know it! So what can I do to get myself going?

Most of us could use a little help when it comes to tacking things we don’t want to tackle. We have this seemingly built in response to procrastinate. Good news is we can change our brains and push forward to doing what we don’t want to do. If procrastination is a learned habit, which it is, then it can be unlearned.

Here is what seems to help

  1. Break down the task to small, doable parts. Then decide when and how long you will work on that task. Just start. This is key!
  2. Start with some easy part. This will  prompt  you to keep  going.
  3. Be aware of your excuses. When they come into your mind, label them as excuses!
  4. Focus on what it will feel like to finish instead of how good it feels to avoid. Tell yourself that putting it off is just delaying the inevitable. Finishing will feel good!
  5. Have a few mini-delays built in to your time. Take a small break, answer an email and then get back to it. Teach yourself to return to the task at hand.
  6. Reward yourself for any part of the completion. Whatever small start you accomplished, acknowledge it and tell yourself, you can do this.
  7. Build in accountability. If you set it up that you have to perform or report, a little fear will get you moving.
  8. Don’t overthink the task. Just do it as Nike taught us!
  9. Work on the task a bit each day. Putting the entire thing off is overwhelming and creates last minute anxiety that can be paralyzing.
  10. When you finish, remember what you did and practice it again and again. This builds mastery and changes your brain.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

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