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I'll Do It In A Minute... Or Maybe I Won't


'Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill.'Christopher Parker

Do you suffer from distractibility? I do. I have been meaning to write this for ages. My problem? Did I have a crisis so that I couldn't do it? No. Did I find the topic uninteresting? On the contrary, I found it fascinating. It was because I had contracted that dreadful disease that afflicts many of us - procrastination!

Why do we procrastinate? For many and different reasons. Disorganization, forgetfulness, fear - of failure and of success, worry about others' opinions, boredom with the task to be done, or by being a perfectionist, so not willing to start because we expect not to be able to achieve our own high standards. We think about the task for so long that we never start! We become busy with other things. We allow ourselves to be distracted. 'I'll just watch TV for 5 minutes..' Something else comes up. 'I don't know where to start!'

For a day, pretend that you are a well organized non-procrastinator. Become someone who gets started and then perseveres. Has the task been imposed on or assigned to you? Take personal responsibility and make it your own. Are your standards realistic or are you using them as an excuse not to get started? Identify what diversions you use, when and where you use them and then plan to overcome them. What are you gaining from procrastinating?

Avoiding something will not make it go away. Don't waste time talking - start doing! What are you afraid of? Get a sense of the entire project and what is required to complete it. Break down tasks into manageable steps, estimate the amount of time you think it will take, increase by 50%, and set appropriate deadlines. Put them in a diary. Check them off as you do them. Reassess time commitments regularly.

Choose a regular time each day to work towards your goal. Get the files out! Or whatever it is that you need to start working. Start with the most unpleasant task. Stay with it, if only for 5 minutes. You may find that once you've actually started, you'll want to carry on. Reduce distractions by making your work place conducive to actually working! Get organized. You're not sure how to proceed or what exactly you're expected to do? Ask someone. Are your skills and abilities adequate for the task? Do you need more training? If you have started, then get bogged down in the middle, try changing location or position. Reward yourself for a task achieved. Remember, it is better to do something rather than nothing. Find a way that works for you and keep at it.

Procrastinators can become bad tempered and stressed. They often miss opportunities. Working to overcome our distractibility brings with it peace of mind, a feeling of strength and purpose, and a healthy feeling of being in charge of your life, of being strong, competent and capable. And look, I managed to get this written! What a feeling of achievement. If I can do it, so can you!

Kate Harper is based in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland.

She works with people who are fed up with moaning about their lives and have decided to do something about it. If that is you, please see her here at http://www.harpercoaching.com.

She is happy to work with people from any part of the world.

"The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult." Madame Marie du Deffand

Take your first step today and contact Kate.


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