13 Tips For Procrastination Treatment
In the article ‘Procrastination: A Guide To Better Understanding’ we summed up what different authors say about procrastination as a phenomenon. And now let’s overview what they suggest to cope with it:
- Solicit external support by telling others about a goal you’re trying to accomplish and asking them to hold you to it. Some experts argue that telling people in your life about a goal can be counterproductive, so this depends on your particular situation. If you’re trying to exercise regularly, tell your friends on social networks you are going to post a selfie from the gym every day, and if someone notices you skip one or two days they will receive a bottle of a good wine from you.
- Create a Panic Monster if there’s not already one in place - if you’re trying to finish a mobile app, schedule a presentation for a few months from now, book a space, and send out an invitation to a group of people. If you really want to start a business, quitting your job makes the Panic Monster your new roommate. Leave post-it notes for yourself, reminding you to make good choices.
- Set an alarm to remind yourself to start a task, or to remind you of the stakes.
- Minimize distractions by all means necessary. If TV’s a huge problem, sell your TV. If social networks are a huge problem, get a second computer or create another user profile for work where social networks are blocked, and turn your phone on Airplane Mode during work sessions. Victor Hugo had his servant strip him naked in his study and not return with his clothes until the appointed hour.
- Lock yourself into something - put down a non-refundable deposit for lessons or a membership.
- Make up your own rewards. For example, promise yourself a dinner at an expensive restaurant if you've completed a certain task. And make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!
- Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task and hold them at the front of your mind. For example, if you are working on a client’s project, find a negative review on the Internet in which a customer is crashing someone for not delivering goods or services in time, print it and hang it in the place where distraction brings you most often.
- Work out the cost of your time to your employer. As your employers are paying you to do the things that they think are important, you're not delivering value for money if you're not doing those things. Shame yourself into getting going!
- “Eat the frog” first thing, every day, or
- Start with some quick, small tasks if you can, even if these aren't the logical first actions. You'll feel that you're achieving things, and so perhaps the whole project won't be so overwhelming after all.
- Learn to say “no” or at least “another time” to others.
- Implement effective planning by:
Procrastination isn't the only cause of slowing down progress. There are many hindrances when you're trying to keep on track.
- making a big to-do list ending with rigorous prioritizing and one item that emerges as the winner - the one most important for you to feel great
- splitting vague and murky items into small, clear, manageable tasks and focusing on one task at a time
- urgent tasks will have to come first and should be knocked out as quickly as possible in order to make way for the important items (procrastinators love to use unimportant but urgent items as an excuse to forever put off the important ones)
These are most common tips. Some of them will work for you, others won’t. The key advice is to keep experimenting, and one day you’ll find out what best applies to you.
Or is procrastination such a disease actually? John Perry, Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University and a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of California, Riverside claims that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. He suggests making friends with the phenomenon by structuring it:
“Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done”.
Another possible cause for procrastination is low energy, and procrastination in its turn saps the rest of it.
“Procrastination” on Psychology Today
“Overcoming Procrastination” by Mind Tools
“Why Procrastinators Procrastinate” by Tim Urban
“Structured Procrastination: Do Less, Deceive Yourself, And Succeed Long-Term.” by John Perry