Stop Procrastinating and Get Stuff Done -- or Else!

procrastinate, procrastinationPsychologists say that the reason you procrastinate is because it feels good. When you procrastinate, you avoid risk and change, and turn to fun activities with an immediate payoff.

Of course, the good feeling is short-lived, and will almost always culminate in feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame as you think about all of the things you still need to get done. Eventually, procrastination can even impact your physical health.

One study found, for instance, that procrastinating college students have more compromised immune systems, leading to more colds and flu, as well as gastrointestinal problems.

So what can you do when you feel procrastination nudging you away from your work?

Well, you can minimize the rewards of procrastination, and maximize the rewards of non-procrastination. These tips from tell you how.

1. Make lists

Lists are fun to make, and even more fun to throw out when you’re done. Make sure that each item on your list is something you can glance at and do immediately.

2. Get motivated

Play the best-case/worst-case game. What’s the best possible outcome of whatever it is you’re (not) working on? Visualize it. Daydream about it. Now, what’s the worst possible outcome? Ask yourself -- how likely is that? Really?

3. Reward yourself

Offering rewards to employees often doesn’t increase motivation. But offering rewards to yourself -- well, that’s just good common sense.

4. Be accountable

Tell someone -- tell lots of someones -- what you’re doing, when you’re going to be done, how excited you are about it, how important it is to you, and so on. Now you’ve got risk. If you fail, everyone is going to know.

5. Do it for three minutes

Aside from, say, breathing poison gas or watching reality television, you can do anything for just three minutes, right? Next time, shoot for five. Then 10. Eventually, you might be able to put in as much as 25 minutes of solid work without dying -- all in a row!

6. Learn to embrace change

Get past your fear of success.

Now turn off your monitor for a minute, get out a piece of paper, and write a list of what you should be working on next. And then start doing it.
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