|Below are several lists of specific, concrete
things you can do to confront and change your own tendencies to procrastinate.
Choose several suggestions from among the four lists and put them into
practice. If these activities work, keep on with them; if not, try different
ones. Persist. Keep a record of your activities on the other side of this
First, schedule your tasks for your project.
_____ Write down a list of the tasks you must undertake to complete your project. Set priorities among these. Mark each one off as you complete it...and reward yourself.
_____ Start with the most unpleasant task---to get it over with---and work down until you get to the easier ones.
_____ Do something daily on your project, even if it is only for 5 minutes. Write down two or three things you can do toward your task which you can accomplish in 5 minutes and then do one of them....and reward yourself.
_____ Schedule work on one of your avoided tasks so that it is contingent upon something you already normally do and enjoy. For example, "I'll work on my term paper in the library half an hour before going to play racquetball."
Second, take action!
_____ When it comes time to do your task and you are tempted to procrastinate, make yourself sit down for 5 minutes and think about what you are about to do. Envision the emotional and physical consequences of procrastinating---and of following through on your plan to work. After you think this over, go ahead and do what you judge best...with no apologies or second thoughts!
_____ Imagine how you would behave in the next hour or day if you were NOT a procrastinator. Get a clear picture in your mind--and then act out that role, pretend, for the next hour or day, that you are not a procrastinator. When you are done, evaluate your "acting": did you do a good job? How did it feel?
_____ When you feel an impulse to work on your project, follow up on it: do it at the moment you think of it and keep at it until you don't feel like it anymore.
_____ Decide on a specific reward for success---and/or a punishment for failure---at working on your task. Make it realistic and follow through. For example, you might decide that you won't take a bath on a day when you don't work on your paper.
Third, use your friends!
_____ Make a contract with a friend or teacher to get a specific task done.
_____ Make an apointment with a teacher, tutor, or someone who can consult with you on your project. Ask for help and advice about proceeding.
_____ Make a lunch or dinner date with a friend. Tell your friend that you want his or her support, that you want to talk about your feelings about your project, that you want him or her to encourage you.
_____ If you have something frightening to do--talking to a teacher, for example--ask a friend to listen to you rehearse what you have to say, so that you can face and live through and cope with your fear.
Fourth, keep a journal!
_____ Every day, write in your journal to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished, to genuinely forgive yourself for backsliding, and to plan your next anti-procrastination activity.
_____ In your journal, identify rationalizations, confront yourself, and redirect yourself to your task.
_____ Recognize negative attitudes and write out positive, encouraging attitudes.
_____ If you get mad, write out all your frustrations and anger in your journal.
_____ If you make a mistake, write out the
interesting, beneficial things you learned from it.
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