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Do it now: Beating procrastination

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Whether it’s filing your taxes, paying your bills, cleaning out the garage or getting out of bed to exercise, everyone tends to procrastinate once in a while. It has been said that Robinson Crusoe is the only person to have all of his work done by Friday. Are you the type of person who tackles projects head on and gets tasks done right away?

Or do you tend to procrastinate and put things off? The habit of procrastination is an attractive form of self-sabotage and is the grave in which many an opportunity is buried.

Procrastination can take a toll on all aspects of your life and has a significant impact on your mental and physical health. The habit of procrastination brings with it a whole host of overwhelming negative consequences such as increased stress, anxiety, guilt, fear,worry, depression and low self-esteem.

Here are five proven tips to help you overcome the problem of procrastination and become more productive.

1. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You can keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed by breaking up your project into smaller, more manageable, bite-size tasks. Develop a written plan of action and set realistic time frames for the completion of each task. If you find that you’re able to complete a task faster than planned, you will feel good about being ahead of schedule.

2. Be sure to allow plenty of time to finish each task. Once you have estimated how much time you will require to accomplish your project, schedule your work into short, 30-minute blocks of time to keep yourself energized. If you do not need all the time you’ve allowed, you will be able to progress ahead of schedule.

3. Stay focused and avoid distractions, such as talking to coworkers, checking your e-mails, playing computer games, answering phone calls or surfing the Internet.

4. Make a commitment to accomplishing your project and hold yourself accountable. If you catch yourself thinking about not working on your project, remember the Nike motto and “just do it.” Remind yourself of how good you’ll feel when you’ve completed your project.

5. Become more efficient by multitasking whenever possible. How many important projects or tasks on your “things to do list” keep getting put off because you have deliberately chosen to procrastinate? The good news is that procrastination is not a character flaw you were born with but a habit that can be overcome with self-discipline and the determination to “do it now!”