Overcoming Procrastination


Organization and planning can help prevent procrastination.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:13-15, NRSV).

I’ve been meaning to write about procrastination for a long time. But I’ve been putting it off.

Seriously, procrastination is a huge problem for a lot of people—and I’m no exception. How can we address the problem of procrastination instead of putting them off for another day? Here are six ideas.

  • 1. Get seriously reacquainted with yourself. What are your strengths and your weaknesses, your likes and dislikes? Take your calendar or “to do” list and rank the tasks you have listed by how much you enjoy doing them: zero is not at all; 5 is a lot. Look at things you have given 0-2 ratings. Can you delegate or trade them with another who may even enjoy doing them?
  • 2. Think before you volunteer. Avoid offering to do things you are likely to put off doing. If you volunteered because you wanted control, consider how much your concern for control is costing you in terms of stress and productivity. Control often comes at a high price—and usually turns out to be illusory anyway.
  • 3. Stick to a schedule. Work often expands to fill the time available. After we’re done doing the things we prefer to do, there’s no time to tackle the rest of our list. Assigning time slots to various tasks helps us handle our time better.
  • 4. Be honest. Most of us underestimate the time things will take. Keep working to realistically adjust your schedule even while you try to hold fast to allocated time limits.
  • 5. Avoid distractions. Decide to tackle a less preferred task first thing to get it out of the way. Then reward yourself with something you like to do.
  • 6. Last and most important: acknowledge you have a problem and commit to keep working on it. Name it. Claim it. Tame it. Repeat as needed.
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