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Proactive Methods for Handling Procrastination


"Where duty is plain, delay is dangerous."

1. Establish your priorities and let nothing interfere with the execution of your most vital tasks. Be constructively selective in what you will do. To aid in your selection, keep in mind that it will probably take longer to do most things than you estimate. Review your work methods so that you can learn to get the job done faster and easier.

2. Always plan your day the day before. Keep your written, daily plan visible. It will rout procrastination.

3. Place your concentration on the matters that should be acted on immediately, leaving less important ones for later. A general guideline is that anything that will affect someone's pocketbook or welfare should be acted on immediately.

4. When you start something, be determined to do it right the first time and bring it to a finish. The old cliché "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" still applies. Resist the temptation to leave a job unfinished. It takes more time to re-familiarize yourself with a project than to complete it the first time around.

5. Dive in and get completely involved once you've set your priorities. Determine your most difficult job of the day and don't do anything else until it is complete. Only decisive action can overcome procrastination.

6. Work out a self-reminder system. Make it a practice to write out your daily/weekly objectives and check off each one as it is accomplished. To help keep motivation high, many successful people have signs in their offices such as "When?" or "Do It Now!"

7. Work toward developing your knowledge and skills. People tend to focus on doing what they already do best. If you are procrastinating in one area of the job, it may be a sign that you are unsure of yourself. By developing and applying new knowledge and skills, you build confidence and overcome your resistance to taking action.

8. Discipline yourself in little things. Another natural tendency is to do the easier things rather than the hard ones that are necessary for success. To counteract this tendency, discipline yourself to do something difficult each day. It may be something as simple as getting up a little earlier or making one more appointment interview.

9. Decide what tasks you will not tackle. While setting priorities is essential, it's just as important to set "non-priority items" deciding what tasks are not essential and sticking to that decision. You can use A, B, C priorities: A. Must do. B. Nice to do. C. Non-priority item.

10. Beware of perfectionism. If you tend to be a perfectionist, keep in mind that even by your standards you need to do some jobs "quick and dirty." 

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