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October 22, 2008

Why Do I Procrastinate?

Posted in: Clutter Hacks,It's That Time,Organizing with ADD

procrastinateEver wonder why, if the results of procrastination are so unpleasant, you do it anyway?

Because, for a lot of us, procrastination becomes a way of coping with the emotions and physical symptoms that accompany depression. Like any form of escape, it may bring some temporary relief, but eventually compounds our misery later.

Do you fall into one of these categories of procrastinators?

• The act of organizing your thoughts and actions and staying on track with plans is difficult. (People with ADD/ADHD often fall into this category.)
• Your tasks seem overwhelming so it’s futile to even try.
• Hostile feelings towards someone cause you to want to punish them by putting things off.
• Routine and schedule causes you to feel rebellious.
• You fear disapproval.

According to some studies, these procrastination styles can overlap in one of four themes:

Self-Doubt – These people feel there are rigid standards about how thing ought to be done and they fear they will fail. They second-guess themselves and delay taking action.

Discomfort Dodging – This person avoids activities that will cause them distress, discomfort or anxiety. Rather ironically, the act of dodging the activity doesn’t make it go away so tensions mount because of this avoidance.

Guilt-Driven – The person feels guilt over tasks undone, but rather than correct the original lack of action, continues to procrastinate in order to not face up to the guilt feelings.

Habitual – The person has procrastinated so many times, it becomes an ingrained response. The person no longer thinks about why they do it, they feel it’s just a part of them. It becomes an automatic response to say, “This is too hard”, “I’m too tired”, or to laugh it off as a character flaw.

Once you recognize your style of procrastination, you can take steps to stop it.

Time Management Tips to Beat Procrastination:

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to get organized. Make lists, take a class in organization, or purchase an organizer. Do whatever works for you. One word of advice: follow the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid). If your organization system is too complicated, it will become just another task to avoid. Here are some helpful tips to get you organized:

• Make a list of what needs to be done. This can be listed in no particular order and will give you a handle on just what you need to accomplish.

• Prioritize these. One way of doing this is by deadlines. Arrange them in order of when they are due. You may also choose to rank them by how important it is to get them done. For example, paying your bills on time may be more important to you than cleaning out your closets. Do that first.

• Get yourself a calendar with room to write notes in. A bound notebook works great – you can write in dates as you go. Make pages with dates for long-term planning and also keep a separate list that you transfer your short-term goals to.

• Take what’s at the top of your priority list and determine how long it will take to accomplish it. If it’s a quick task, put that down to be done the current day. If it will take a longer time, divide it into smaller tasks to be spread out over several days. Write this in your calendar with specific dates for accomplishing each. Include your deadline for completion of this task on your calendar as well.

• Keep filling your calendar until you have a time set aside to do each item while still meeting your deadlines. Be careful to not overbook yourself and allow plenty of time for delays. This will allow you to feel confident that you can accomplish all you need to in the time you have. Now you can relax and work on one item at a time without feeling you have to do it all at once.

What tips do you have??


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