Breaking the Procrastination Habit

One of my favorite bloggers, Crystal from Biblical Womanhood & Money Saving Mom recently gave her readers a challenge to have an anti-procrastination day. She asked everyone to think of the things that they had been procrastinating on and for them to focus their efforts on those tasks. Isn’t she just brilliant? I have five things in my head that come to mind that I have procrastinated on this week and I am sure everyone else has things that they know they should be doing…but haven’t. In the long run, is it really easier to procrastinate? I will say that if you have procrastinated forever on something, there is certainly a rush when the task finally does get completed, but is your life easier or more difficult when dealing with procrastination? Often my procrastination costs me MORE time and money.

This week’s lesson from the book we have been working through (“How Did I Get So Busy,” by Valorie Burton) actually has a chapter devoted towards breaking the procrastination habits that you have been living with. The author offers these tips to help you accomplish what needs your attention this week:

1. Commit five minutes to the task. Even if the projects are large, start by setting a timer for five minutes and working on the project for that length of time. Don’t you find though that once you start, it is hard to stop. It is the starting in a task that is usually the most difficult part. Go ahead, set that timer…but don’t be surprised if you don’t want to stop!

2. Stop making it a big deal. Often we make these tasks into bigger deals than what the are and it causes us to become paralyzed and not even start them. Maybe the task is just having a conversation with someone you love and you have something to say. You could start with manageable steps- writing it down, scheduling a date to say what you need to say, and then just saying it. Smaller steps are key towards working through procrastination.

3. Give yourself permission to do it imperfectly. My perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. I have the mentality, “If I can’t do it perfectly, then why do it at all?” Wrong attitude, I know, but sometimes I have to give myself permission to let go of my perfectionism to accomplish something. The author says, “It’s time to let go of your perfectionism. It becomes a stumbling block that keeps you stuck. Be willing to do your best, but be willing to do it imperfectly. It frees you to be human and it frees you to make progress.”

4. Make it fun. I have heard of people throwing painting parties to get their rooms painted, or inviting friends over to help them weed through their clothes. Invite someone to join in with you or look for support among your blogging friends to help you! Sometimes it just helps to have a cheerleader, doesn’t it?

5. Drop the goal. Enjoy the day. If you are never going to do the task, quit adding it to your to-do list so that you can feel like you have failed. Just give yourself permission to let it go so you can enjoy your day without the dread.

Sound Off: What do you find yourself procrastinating on? What are some goals you could make for yourself?

Published May 09, 2008 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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