Seven Techniques for Overcoming the Tendency to Procrastinate

by Denis Waitley

The science of physics recognizes two kinds of inertia – both of which can be related to procrastination. The first law states, “Standing objects tend to remain stationary.” The second law is the inverse: “Moving objects tend to stay in motion.”

Procrastination is stationary inertia. We aren’t moving, and we therefore don’t move!

Procrastination overcome, however, moves us into the arena where the law of motion takes over. We frequently find that once we’ve started a project or process, we stay with it until completion. One of my favorite sayings that my friend Dr. Robert Schuller posted on my Facebook: “Beginning is Half Done!”  (I’ve modified it to say, “Beginning is Half Won!”)

Here are seven techniques to overcome procrastination:

1. Take five minutes to identify what you are putting off.
On a blank sheet of paper, note several important activities that you realize you are delaying or have put on hold.

2. Look at your list of tasks and do one of them right now.
Put the energy you’ve been directing toward excuses into the activity you’ve been avoiding. You’ll discover that action eliminates anxiety.

3. If getting started is the hard part for you, set a designated time slot in the day to work on the list.
Set aside thirty minutes of your lunch hour for work specifically on one job, project, or personal goal that you’ve been avoiding or find difficult to start.

4. Don’t worry about perfection. 
What counts is quality of effort, not perfect results. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with a preoccupation for perfectionism.

5. If what you are putting off involves other people, consult with them.
Your reasons for delaying action may be imaginary. Lack of communication often turns molehills into mountains.

6. If you fear the consequences associated with the action you’ve been avoiding, ask yourself, What’s the worst thing that could happen If I did this today?
The worst–case scenario most likely would be a minor inconvenience or a temporary setback.

7. Finally, vividly picture how you’ll feel once the task is done. 

Freedom from anxiety. Freedom from nagging pressures. Freedom from self–doubt. Accomplishing put–off tasks will give you a great boost of confidence and energy!

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