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How to Stop Procrastinating

How to Stop Procrastinating

How to Stop Procrastinating

Here is a simple three-point plan to stop procrastinating:

  1. Think about the painful consequences you will suffer if you DON'T do the task.
  2. Think about the pleasurable benefits you will enjoy if you DO complete the task.
  3. Just start it

1. Think about the painful consequences you will suffer if you DON'T do the task.

The reason you procrastinate is because, each time you think of doing the task, you think about how painful, or boring, or difficult, it will be.

And since you are pre-programmed to avoid pain, you avoid tasks that you find "painful", and you seek out other tasks that are more "pleasurable".

You can harness the power of your natural predisposition to avoid pain, by thinking about the painful consequences you will suffer if you don't do the task at hand.

Make a list of at least five painful consequences you will have to suffer if you don't:

  1. Do the laundry.
  2. Do your accounts.
  3. Tidy up the kitchen.
  4. Arrive on time, (to catch the train), etc.

The more you dwell on the painful consequences you must suffer if you do NOT do something, the more you will feel compelled to get-on and do it.

2. Think about the pleasurable consequences you will enjoy if you do complete the task.

Because you are motivated by pleasure, you should think of all the pleasurable benefits you will enjoy IF you complete the task. Make a list of at least five pleasurable benefits you will enjoy, when you have successfully completed the above tasks.

The more you dwell on the pleasurable benefits of completing the tasks, the more you will feel compelled to get-on and do it.

3. Just start it.

The last step is just to start.

Start with the beginning of the first part of the job.

If you have been procrastinating on working-out, just say to yourself, I will go to the gym and I will do the first warm up sets of the first exercise, then, if I don't feel like it I will come back home.

Of course, you know what will happen.

By the time you have finished your warm up sets, your momentum will have gathered its force and you keep going.

You have the best workout you've ever had, and you can go home and feel the pleasurable benefits of overcoming procrastination and getting the job done.

"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Martin Luther King Jr

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Time Management

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  • What is the Action Priority Matrix?
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