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Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Procrastination has a high potential for painful consequences. It may interfere with our personal or academic success.

There are those of us who wait until the due date is a day away. I am

not talking about making sure the money is in the bank. I am talking about

putting it off because it is a tedious chore that we do not enjoy doing.

Procrastination is a big problem for many, and one that can harm your

career. Whether your procrastination causes you to arrive late at work or

late for meetings, or keeps you from turning projects in on time, employers

do not look positively upon it

There are several reasons why we procrastinate. If a project is absolutely overwhelming, to the point where you don't even start it, break it down into small, specific steps. Do one or two each day. If you complete a step and are motivated to continue, fine. But if you're not, that's fine too because you have only committed to one small piece. Just don't stop before completing that piece. If there is no immediate payoff because the project is long term, build in mini-completion points. Design a reward system similar to what you do with a task you don't like. Creating instant gratification will motivate you until you reach the final destination. If you know you can handle the project but just don't know where to start, start anywhere. Just do something. Write a title on a piece of paper. Then write something else. Eventually you'll be led to where you need to go. But it takes a little bit of momentum to get the ball rolling. This doesn't mean that you'll use any of the material you start with. This is fine - you need a good finished product, not a good first draft. A final, common reason for procrastination is perfectionism. Be aware that there is a difference between doing something right and doing the right thing. Perfectionists can spend their time on the wrong thing, i.e. hanging and re-hanging a picture on the office wall. Looks great, but is it getting you anywhere? If the task is meaningless in the long run, it doesn't really matter if you do it perfectly. You can still do it well, just don't let it consume you. If perfectionism is keeping you from beginning a task, reevaluate whether the payoff would be worth the effort of doing it perfectly. There are times when it is worth doing something perfectly. If this is the case, begin at the beginning, with the first segment, and do it extraordinarily well. But only strive for perfection where it counts. The rest of the time, just do it. Remember, the next time you're procrastinating and can't seem to overcome it, stop and figure out why. Is the task even worth doing? If so, pick the appropriate solution based upon the root cause and you'll whittle away those piles in no time.

Also procrastination can be stopped if you recognize self-defeating problems such as fear and anxiety, difficulty concentrating, poor time management, indecisiveness and perfectionism. Identify your own goals, strengths and weaknesses, values and priorities. Compare your actions with the values you feel you have. Are your values consistent with your actions?

Discipline yourself to use time wisely: Set priorities. Study in small blocks instead of long time periods. For example, you will accomplish more if you study/work in 60 minute blocks and take frequent 10 minute breaks in between, than if you study/work for 2-3 hours straight, with no breaks. Reward yourself after you complete a task. Motivate yourself to study: Dwell on success, not on failure. Try to study in small groups. Break large assignments into small tasks. Keep a reminder schedule and checklist. Set realistic goals. Modify your environment: Eliminate or minimize noise/ distraction. Ensure adequate lighting.



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