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How often have you put off a task you imagined was “difficult” ?

How often have you found excuses to avoid a task you found distasteful?

Most of us would answer truthfully that there have been many times when we have put off doing one thing or another- particularly if we found it difficult or distasteful.  We would have been guilty of procrastination.

Here are 7 Ways to Lick Procrastination:

  1. Break the Task into Small Bits: As the old joke says : “How do you eat an elephant? In small bites”. Breaking up the task into smaller ones shows progress and encourages you to work at it. Much better than sitting around waiting to pluck up enough courage or effort to begin a daunting “big'” task.
  2. Don’t Wait for the Right Mood: Likewise, putting off things till you are in the “right mood” seldom works. In the morning you think you will do the work in the evening and in the evening, you rationalize that the morning is the best time for this kind of work.
  3. Get a Good Fit of the Task: Does it need 2 days, a few hours? Does it need inputs from some one else or can you do it fully on your own? The lack of a proper fit foe the task forces us to put it off. Often we wait for others…endlessly.
  4. Don’t Wait for the Right Time: There is no magic hour, there is no sacred time that will work wonders. Get down to it. There is no other way. Waiting for the right time is one way of kidding yourself that you will do it later.
  5. Don’t Be A Perfectionist: The work should be of good quality but don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism. The world around you does not have the time to wait for your ever so perfect solution.
  6. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: We procrastinate because we can’t say “No” and simply have to appear to be the eager beaver. The result: heaps to be done with limited time. Like robbing Peter to pay Paul, one task is done well at the cost of another. We don’t do justice to all that we take on. Much better to take up fewer tasks and do them very well and on time.
  7. Be Focused on Your Goals: If you know what you want to achieve, you tend to procrastinate less. Be and stay focused on achieving your goals. Time and tide, as another old saying goes, wait for no man ( or woman, as the case may be). Being aware of your goals, work on tasks based on the priority you assign them in the context of your goals.

As the veteran radio host  Bernard Meltzer quipped: ” Hard work is often the easy work you did not do at the proper time.”

Procrastination, they say, is the thief of time. Don’t allow it to steal more of your precious time.

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This is the 143 rd of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success