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6 Steps to Coping with Procrastination

By Marty Nemko

To tell you the truth, you may be hopeless. One of the world's leading experts on procrastination privately admitted to me that most of his clients don't get cured. But some of my clients are procrastinating less by using the following:

Step 1. Decide whether you really want to do the task. Maybe its benefits aren't worth the effort.

Step 2. If you decide you want to do the task, do you want to do it now or schedule the darn thing on your calendar? Consciously choosing makes it more likely you'll actually complete the tasks you decide to do.

Step 3. Procrastinators tend to repress thoughts of doing the dreaded task. So build in a reminder: Write a word on your hand or set a timer to go off when you should be starting the task.

Step 4. Identify the moment of truth: the moment when you're about to procrastinate. That moment will occur when you realize you should do the task or when you reach a hard part. At that moment, say aloud, "Stop!" Literally pinch yourself for sliding back into your wicked ways and make yourself summon the energy, the discipline, to get started. That's the moment of truth, the moment when you have to believe that right then, it's in your interest to be productive rather than to have fun. After starting, you'll find it easier to continue.

Step 4a. If you're still tempted to procrastinate, find an easy part of the task and do that next, even if it's just a few-second-activity. If the entire task seems too difficult, ask someone to help you.

Step 5. Look back and ask yourself whether it was worth the effort to get the task done.

Step 6: Block out some time for pure, unadulterated, guilt-free fun.

What can you do today?
Post this six-step plan where you're most likely to procrastinate.

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