Are you one of those people who always find something that distracts you and steers your focus away from the activity that really requires your attention?

You know how it goes: the voice in your head is telling you that time is rapidly running out and you haven’t even started the job that you’ve been putting off for several days now.

However, you take more notice of another voice that suggests that you give yourself a treat before starting the tedious task.

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How about a quick game of solitaire or two on the computer before getting down to the tedious stuff? Why not make that social telephone call to the friend who you promised you’d get back to about a night out together?

Just admit it – you’ve developed a certain expertise in the ancient art of procrastination!

Ever wondered how different your life could have been?

What possibilities have passed you by because of your unhelpful procrastination skills? Wouldn’t it be good to master the art of completing plans and activities so that some of your seemingly unreachable pipe dreams could come true?

The choice is yours: remain in the stuck state or take some simple steps and make up for lost time.

How to stop procrastination. Simple steps – big difference

1. Focus on the outcome before thinking about the task

If you’re clear in your mind what will be achieved when you’ve completed the task, the task itself will be more appealing. “I really must start exercising every day” isn’t very appealing. Your unconscious mind has been given nothing it can associate with any of your senses. The amount of exercise and its end purpose (outcome) is unspecified.

“I’m going to be fully fit and active in time for my holiday, so I’m going to have a brisk 10 min walk every day” focuses on the outcome first and then follows with a specific and manageable activity.

2. Visualise the new you

An invaluable but underused technique is to imagine, before you have actually started on your task, that your intended outcome has been achieved and that you are already enjoying the benefits.

Ask yourself what were the steps you took to get the task successfully completed? Use this “foresight” to help plan for success.

how to stop procrastination_23. Use increments and make the task easily achievable

Very often the procrastinator sees or feels that the task is insurmountable and avoids tackling it. There’s an old expression: “you can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” Break your task down into manageable steps so that completion of the first is so easy that you want to move onto the next. Once you’re on a roll there will be no stopping you!

4. Prepare a timeline

Be specific about your starting and finishing time/date. The sooner you intend to start, the more likely you are to get the job completed. The same is also true regarding a finish date that’s not far off.

Set a realistic time for each chunk of the task. If the estimated time for completion of a single chunk is a matter of minutes – set an alarm and keep going until the alarm sounds. Using a timer is a great way to keep focused on the passage of time.

5. Periodically review your achievements

Your unconscious mind thrives on compliments, so focus less on the hiccups and errors and instead focus on the positives. Each small and successfully completed chunk of the task provides the motivation to keep going until its completed.

Looking back at your path of progress can remind you how much you have already achieved and can make the finishing post seem so much easier to reach.

6. Tell others of your intentions

It’s easier not to get started at all when your intentions are both vague and secret. So tell others what you’re setting out to achieve, together with your timescale. Who wants to admit to failure? There will be much more of an incentive for you to be serious about your intentions.

To borrow a phrase, Just Do It !

Beware of hiding behind your intention and implement some of the suggestions made here. While forethought and planning will lead to success, in the end it’s time for action. Start right away and put off further procrastinating forever!

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