4 ways to stop pro­cras­ti­nat­ing

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - WHAT’S ON -

Q: I know this isn’t nec­es­sar­ily your area of ex­per­tise but as a fel­low writer I’m re­ally strug­gling with mo­ti­va­tion at the mo­ment and won­dered if you had any tips to avoid pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. Thanks, Gus

I to­tally un­der­stand Gus! And, yes while I’m cer­tainly not a time man­age­ment ex­pert I have a few tips that I’ve found help­ful, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to writ­ing books.

Here are four tips to avoid pro­cras­ti­na­tion:

1. Some­times what we per­ceive as pro­cras­ti­na­tion is not re­ally that at all. If you trust that you are sup­posed to take ac­tion when you ac­tu­ally do, you can start to see syn­chronic­ity in your life.

Yet this might de­pend on whether we are talking about the wash­ing up or chang­ing ca­reer here! If it’s wash­ing up, the sooner that’s done the bet­ter. If it’s the ca­reer, or other such lifechang­ing choices, trust the tim­ing rather than see­ing it as pro­cras­ti­na­tion. It takes the fear


out of it and you’ll do it sooner.

2. If emails are an area where you pro­cras­ti­nate, get a sys­tem where you re­ply im­me­di­ately if it takes two min­utes or less. But if it takes more than that, have a folder where those emails go. Sched­ule a chunk of time to tend to those emails, but start at the bot­tom of the folder, no mat­ter what.

Other­wise it’s like al­ways open­ing the top few let­ters in the pile that you re­ceive in the post and never get­ting to the bot­tom of them. And the longer they linger, the more pro­cras­ti­nat­ing you’ll do about them!

3. To-do lists don’t work. They just add to the stress for most people, as they are never all ticked off. What gets sched­uled gets done. Re­place the ti­tle ‘‘to-do up for a meet­ing with other people.

4. Be re­ally hon­est with your­self about why you’re pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. Are you pro­cras­ti­nat­ing be­cause the work is too hard and you’re too em­bar­rassed to ask for help?

Or is it be­cause you find it bor­ing and it’s ac­tu­ally not what you want to be do­ing at all? For ex­am­ple, your role may have be­come heav­ily ad­min­is­tra­tive but you re­ally love cre­ative work, so nat­u­rally you find your­self pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. If you can get to the heart of why you’re pro­cras­ti­nat­ing you’re far more likely to find an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. For a jour­ney of ed­u­ca­tion and in­spi­ra­tion, join Dr Libby’s Weight Loss For Women course start­ing May 1. For more in­for­ma­tion visit dr­libby.com

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