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Break Your Procrastination Habit

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Do you keep postponing work you need to do? Most of us procrastinate from time to time. Rather than feeling guilty about it, or beating yourself up, try these strategies to break the habit.

  • Schedule your deep work: It’s easier to put off work that requires concentration. So build time in your daily calendar to focus on your most important long-term project. Having a regular pattern each day will make it less challenging and help make progress feel automatic, rather than cumbersome.
  • Learn to accept demanding work: Don’t make the mistake of equating easy work with productivity. The more tolerant you become of demanding tasks, the less you’ll procrastinate. This takes practice; commit to tackling 90 minutes of at least one demanding task each day — not just busy work.
  • Create a system for starting new tasks: You’ll be less likely to delay novel tasks if you have a system for approaching them. Have consistent steps you take when you encounter something new to reduce decision fatigue about how to start.
  • Use self-compassion: We tend to avoid tasks that stir up negative emotions. Try to identify what you’re feeling exactly, so you can address the emotion head on. Sometimes the negative feelings about a task are driven by a prior experience. You can heal these wounds with compassionate self-talk. Tell yourself, “It’s normal to be disappointed in my past performance. I’m learning through experience.”
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