Overcoming Procrastination: Tips for Getting Started


  Overcoming Procrastination: Tips for Getting Started

It’s time to stop being lazy. Start taking action!

If you find yourself procrastinating on a regular basis, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is to just get started. Don't wait for the perfect conditions, because they will never come (and waiting will only lead you to put off getting started even more). Instead, take control of your own life and make progress today.

The first tip for overcoming procrastination is making lists - specifically "to do" lists of things that need doing (usually in order of priority). The first step is to identify a few activities that you enjoy and will make you happy doing. For example, if you like music, then it's probably worth checking out guitar lessons or writing a song or two. If you love photography, then shoot some photos in your local park or at the beach.

If you're not interested in any of these activities then brainstorm other personal projects that interest you. For instance, maybe taking up gardening would be fun - but first it will be necessary to buy some quality equipment (priceless advice: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TCS6G5G). Or maybe you like working with animals - but first it will be necessary to take an animal rescue course (see tips below for more information on this).
Once you have your list of activities, then the next step is to prioritize the list. For example, if you want to be a musician, you would probably rank music as the most important thing to focus on. So write that activity at the top of your list. Make sure that all the other activities are also in order from highest priority to lowest priority.

Now the next step is to work on the first activity on the list. Once that's completed, then move onto number two. Once that has been completed, then move onto number three. There is no point starting out with the hardest activity on your list if you are not sure you will be able to complete it because another one might take you longer and cause more procrastination if you are constantly thinking about how far away from completing it you are. Instead, work on the most enjoyable tasks first (and make sure not to over-excite yourself).

For a long term plan of action, look into taking some animal rescue classes in Los Angeles . These classes are run by the awesome people at Take a Hike . They offer both short and long term courses. For those wanting to get started in the next few weeks, they have an Introduction to Animal Care and Training class or intermediate classes such as Can I Ever Leave?: Handling Your Adopted Pet ?
For a more general introduction to animal care and training, Michael W. Fox has written what is perhaps the best book on this subject that I have yet read: The Dog Care Bible: The Complete Guide to Raising and Training Your Best Friend .
Another great tip for overcoming procrastination is to use the Pomodoro technique. This involves working on your list of activities for 25 minutes at a time, followed by a 5 minute break. After the 25 minutes are up, take another 5 minute break and then repeat that cycle over again. Because this technique reduces procrastination, it might be worth starting out with the highest priority item on your list first so that you get it over with quickly. The Pomodoro technique can be found here .
In his article entitled Overcoming Procrastination: How to Do What You Want to Do When You Want to Do It , Dr. John T. Cacioppo lists several other tips that might be worth trying out:
Keep your desk and cupboards tidy and free of distractions. 
As an aid to concentration, work in a quiet room where you are unlikely to be distracted. 
Do one thing at a time, rather than juggling multiple tasks simultaneously (or enlist the help of others).  
Avoid distractions such as television when you study or work (and make sure that it is not left on in the background when doing something else). 
Keep a diary of your procrastination.  
Above all, you must get started. 
The fact that you are reading this article right now is an indication that you are already thinking about overcoming procrastination. Great! Keep it up! If you would like any more help with overcoming procrastination, then the following tips might be useful:
In order to turn your list of things into a plan of action, make sure that the activities are both realistic and enjoyable to complete. For example, if photography is not your main interest, then it may be more beneficial to select something else such as animal care or gardening - both of which will increase your chances of actually doing the activity in question.
You will most likely be more motivated if you can see some kind of immediate benefit from completing the activity. For example, if you want to join a choir and make friends, then make sure that it will benefit you in terms of making new friends (and enjoying singing along with others).
For a broader introduction to these three tips and their relationship to procrastination, please read this article by Dr. John T. Cacioppo entitled The Role of Cognitive Distortions in Procrastination: Implications for Treatment .
If the activity that you have selected is not realistic or enjoyable, then it may be better left on your "to do" list. For example, if you are not a very fit person, then taking up kick-boxing may be unrealistic (try tai chi instead). Perhaps it would be more realistic to learn how to take better photos of your travels (see photograph above).
In his article entitled How to Overcome Procrastination , Dr. John T. Cacioppo lists several tips that might be worth trying out:
Use a checklist.  
Anxiety is a big cause of procrastination, so the less anxiety you have about your project the better.

In order to overcome procrastination, it is important that you take steps to overcoming it. In this article, I have listed several easy ways that you can do this. However, if you need more help with overcoming procrastination, then please consider attending one of the following workshops:
A 4-day workshop on overcoming procrastination held in Stockholm .
A 3-day workshop on overcoming procrastination held in London .
The following video may be useful for those who are more visual learners: Overcoming Procrastination Through Visualization - Mike Murdock This article was written by Dr. John T.

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