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NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Procrastination - Time Management - Productivity - Being Disciplined - Efficiency

Overcoming Procrastination

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • start with a written plan of action to avoid getting distracted
  • keep your plan simple and straightforward
  • start with the one thing you must get done today to feel productive
  • should be a manageable item you can complete in 10-15 minutes
  • break the day up into a number of "action sessions" for other tasks
  • balance the time spent planning with time spent creating or doing
  • avoid over-planning -- another method of procrastination
  • before ending your day, spend 10 minutes reviewing your progress
  • take time to plan your actions for the next day


  • your tasks should match your values or purpose
  • if not, you will find it hard to summon the energy to tackle them
  • bring each task into congruence with your basic mission
  • if you can't, take it off of your list


  • don't put any "to-do" on your list that takes more than 30 minutes
  • if it takes longer, it's actually a series of smaller "to-do's"
  • break each step out and list it separately
  • you don't have to tackle all the steps of a project in one sitting
  • spread a large task out over several work sessions
  • you will see greater progress as you check more items off your list
  • you will avoid getting bogged down in one large task or project


  • determine how much you can do or tolerate at a time
  • don't push yourself too far or you'll get bored or frustrated
  • plan these project "pieces" into your daily activities
  • set a "completion point" for accomplishing each small task
  • completion points give you an end in sight to look forward to


  • don't try to do everything perfectly
  • perfectionism often causes procrastination
  • perfectionists would rather put it off than do an incomplete job
  • rather than perfection, aim for progress
  • any small step toward completion is an accomplishment


  • do the worst job (or part of the job) first and get it out of the way
  • once you tackle the part you are dreading, the rest is a breeze
  • stop spending time planning and just jump into doing it
  • set a time limit -- "I'll file papers for 5 minutes"
  • alternate unpleasant jobs with tasks you enjoy
  • delegate out items you can't make yourself do


  • interruptions tend to occur in identifiable patterns
  • notice when interruptions occur, by whom, and why
  • take steps to prevent those interruptions before they occur
  • if they can't be prevented, learn how to delegate to someone else
  • if they can't be delegated, learn how to delay until you are finished


  • make the project and environment as pleasant as possible
  • play music, open a window, have a cold drink, etc.
  • give yourself the best tools and work space for the project
  • take a few minutes to organize your work space
  • a clean desk allows you to focus without visual distraction
  • it's only a chore if you think of it as a chore


  • find an "accountability partner" to track your progress
  • schedule a regular time to check in with a friend or colleague
  • rewarding your accomplishments encourages productivity
  • give yourself a break, a treat, a nap -- whatever is a reward for you
  • reward every step along the way, not just the end result
  • the bigger the accomplishment, the bigger the reward


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