4 Tips for Beating Procrastination

b loehr - procrastinationThe “simple” definition for procrastinate, according to Merriman-Webster.com is:

“To be slow or late about doing something that should be done: to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.”

Ouch, lazy? That cuts pretty deep. I mean everyone procrastinates from time-to-time, right? It’s part of being human, right?

Webster’s “full” definition leaves out that ugly four-letter word.

  1. To put off intentionally and habitually
  2. To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

Still not a pretty picture.

Did you know there is a science to why people procrastinate? According to the UPMC Healthbeat, there’s a chemical reason we prefer relaxing activities versus those “have to” things that we find so easy to put off. The intense urge to avoid work by focusing on more pleasant or satisfying activities is an actual  battle between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is less developed and thus weaker, so often the limbic system wins out, leading to procrastination.”

Before you get all kicked-back and in the so-it’s-not-my-fault-at-all zone, consider the very real pitfalls of procrastination. For instance, putting things off can cause stress later when you have to double or triple-time it. And we all know how stress wreaks havoc on your overall health – your immune system in particular – not to mention how relationships between stressed out people suffer.

Factor in the bad rap your reputation will get. Also, how repeatedly succumbing to procrastination will squash both your drive to succeed and the likelihood of realizing your dreams. And those are but a few of the myriad ways procrastination can lead to trouble.

Understanding the science behind procrastination is all well and good, but what most of us need are practical tips for beating procrastination.

  1. Dismiss the notion of perfection

 If you’re waiting for everything to line up perfectly before diving into whatever it may be, just don’t. Not only will you accomplish next to nothing, but you’re giving procrastination a foothold in your life. Get your ducks in a row as best you can – then dive in.

  1. Change things up

 Realize that different environments have a huge impact on your productivity. A writer friend of mine finds one distraction after another at home, but can buckle down at the corner coffee shop where laundry, dishes, and a million other chores are not front and center.

  1. Remember how to eat an elephant?

 Big tasks or projects often saddle you with a crippling sense of being overwhelmed before you even get started. Which makes it ten times harder to get started. So, break the assignment into bite-sized pieces . . . Err, smaller tasks. And make it a priority to bask in the sense of accomplishment, for just a wee bit, after each step.

  1. Create the adult equivalent to a sticker chart

Remember the sticker chart that worked wonders to get your preschooler to behave? That same reward principle can work for adults too. Establish little reward incentives along the way then treat yourself to something special when the task is finished, on time in a quality manner.

Get a grip on procrastination before it becomes the middle name that even the dog knows you by.

Now here’s a biggie. Don’t procrastinate about contacting B Loehr Staffing. You are our priority at B. Loehr Staffing. That’s why both our Client and Candidate Toolboxes are chalk full of resources to assist you. Check them out today.

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