How to stop procrastinating
If you Google “how to stop procrastinating” over 1,300,000 hits come up. There are lots of helpful hints that provide good advice, but most of them deal with the immediate issue.
Get started on the worst or most difficult project first.
Break the project down into bite-size pieces.
Work for 10 minutes. Take a break, then focus for 10 more minutes.
Procrastination is just self-gratification
Sure, we have all that one project that we just want to put off until the last possible minute because we want to do something else that makes us feel better. Basically, procrastination is just self-gratification, even when we know we shouldn’t. Some people leave things until the last minute to work better and more efficiently, using the anxiety associated with the deadline as a cue to get moving.
Chronic procrastination has often been linked with perfectionism, but the research indicates that it actually is linked to impulsiveness and avoidance. True procrastinators actually stress out more when they delay beginning a project. Although time management tips help you with one specific project, you have to look at the emotions behind why you procrastinate in order to change.
Researchers may have found the cure
Researchers at Stockholm University worked with 150 participants in a study who all identified as chronic procrastinators. The participants worked in 10-week modules where they tested methods that would help them overcome their procrastination.
One component involved goal-setting with rewards, and another component was that of guided therapy where the procrastinator was exposed to their stressful feelings. The guided therapy approach showed more improvement in the short-term. Researchers plan on testing the participants again in a year to see if the long-term benefits are any different.
By all means, if you procrastinate, use the short-term techniques to manage your time better. However, it might be worth your time to work with a professional to help you address the reasons behind your procrastination. You may need software that deters you from distraction, or you may need to explore your emotions to help understand why you avoid starting projects.