Procrastination is putting things off until the last minute or
missing deadlines because you have put things off too long. It can lead to
stress or be a result of stress. The more stressful or
unpleasant a task, the more likely you are to put it off. Of course, this only
increases your stress. Therefore, having an approach to handling
procrastination is important.
Structure your time. Use a schedule planner or a
notebook to plan your day or week. Just seeing on paper that there is a time to
get your tasks done can help you get to work. For shorter projects, use a timer
or alarm clock to help you stick with your plan.
Make a molehill out of a mountain. Break up large
tasks. If you know you will not be able to concentrate on a project for 3
hours, break up your work into 1-hour blocks for 3 days. It's much easier to
face an unpleasant task if the time you are giving it is brief.
Create short-term deadlines. If you typically put off
deadlines, create short-term deadlines within your projects that you must meet.
This can help you make a habit of meeting deadlines. It will also force you to
get things done so that when the long-term deadline arrives, the pressure and
work have not built up.
Avoid perfectionism. If you accept nothing less than
a perfect performance, you may never get to work on a task because you're
worried that it won't be perfect. Remember that doing your best is fine, and
that giving yourself enough time to do your best will reduce stress.
If you do procrastinate or feel guilty about your lack of willpower
or self-discipline, blaming yourself is not helpful. Doing
so may make the procrastination worse. Confidence and healthy self-esteem
usually help rather than hurt a procrastinator.
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If procrastination is a serious problem in your life, there are
outside resources that can help. Students can find services on campus, and some
employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that can help you learn to
manage your time more efficiently.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
April 20, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 20, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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