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What You Can Do About Procrastination

Goals stalled? Always running behind? Stuck in a rut?

Procrastination means "putting it off". Whether it's a career goal, a home project, or something about your daily life, a sustained plateau on a goal can rattle your motivation, challenge your thinking. And that can eventually mean that you're putting off your LIFE, not just a task.

The key is to push through these plateaus to see the finish line. Take a good look, reassess your strategy, ask some questions, make some changes. Not dealing with it, won't make it go away. Stop putting off your life!

What can I do when I find it hard to just get started?

The hardest thing about everyday tasks is getting started on them. It's kind of like pushing a stalled car -- once you get going, everything rolls right along. You can beat procrastination in daily life tasks by setting up systems that help you. Set a time to pay bills (Wed mornings, for example). Then you do it and forget it. Most people don't decide "not to" do something -- they just don't every consciously decide TO do it. Decide. Put life on your schedule.

What can I do when I don't feel qualified to perform the task?

Being afraid that you will fail at something is a sure-fire way to get you to stop before you've started. You can beat procrastination by being honest with yourself about your level of training in that particular task. Don't complain or delay. Simply request help from someone qualified who can help you learn.

What can I do when I'm not sure this is something I really want?

I was having trouble finishing painting my kitchen and I couldn't figure out why. As I started to really think about it, I realized that I didn't really like the color. "Martha Stewart" said I ought to like it, but I just didn't. As soon as I mentally fired Martha and got the color I really wanted, I finished in no time. You can beat procrastination by telling the truth about what you really want out of life. Live as the star of your own life, not as an extra in someone else's.

What can I do when the task seems huge, overwhelming?

Beware of over-exaggeration. While it may seem like it will take lightening years to complete a job, you can control procrastination by using a timer to help you see what you can really accomplish in 30 minutes. I guarantee you'll be shocked. Schedule a specific amount of time that you will spend on it each day, or week -- set the timer. Devote that time to it, and then return next time. You'll move forward without exaggeration or exasperation.

What can I do when there are many things demanding my attention?

When there is too much crammed into 24 hours, often nothing of real value gets done You can control procrastination by setting priorities. Do things that are important to you and your life. Weed out the junk in your life, the same way you pull the weeds in your garden - just because they volunteered to show up doesn't mean you want them there!

Making a task easier often comes with making a choice to adjust your schedule, re-allocate your money, or choosing how to spend your energy. We all know that, like mom taught us, we have to get our work done before we can go out and "play". Put your work on a schedule, keep it realistic (you're only human!), and that makes play time all the more enjoyable. Your happiness depends on it!

Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates specializes in helping people who are ready to create a simpler, less stressful, more joyful and meaningful lifestyle. Visit for information, products and services, and sign up for a free newsletter.


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