312Procrastination is something we all experience at some time or another. Age and maturity does not make it go away! Delay, broken promises and unfulfilled expectations. Feeling inadequate. Low self-esteem. Worry. Fear. Stress. Overwork.

Procrastination isn’t good for anyone, anytime. So why do so many do it? Not just around such matters as lodging your income tax return and completing Christmas shopping but with everyday tasks such as clearing the desk or sorting out the kitchen pantry, or starting a project at work or home.

The more difficult, inconvenient or scary the task is perceived to be, the more procrastinators procrastinate. They come up with semi-convincing self-talk that makes the delay appear reasonable, but in the end, it’s a self-defeating behavior that causes all sorts of problems, not the least of which is stress.

Following are a few suggestions to overcome procrastination:

1. Set goals.
Decide what you want and what needs to happen to get it. Be specific. Create a realistic timetable.

2. Commit.
Make a contract with yourself. Tell a friend or co-worker or family member your plan. Ask for help when you need it.

3. Set priorities.
Make a list of things that need to be done in order of their importance.

4. Get organised.
Have the right tools, equipment and resources (including people who can help or support you) to do the job. Make lists. Keep a schedule.

3135. Think small.
Don’t let the whole of the project overwhelm you. Stay in the present and do what you are doing or what has to be done now!

6. Break tasks into parts.
The “Swiss cheese” approach to getting any major project completed is to break it apart and work on one piece at a time. Reward yourself when you complete one step.

7. Use positive self-talk.
“I can do this!” “I am a capable mature woman with years of experience.” “Go girl!”

8. Replace excuses with rational, realistic thinking.
Enough said!

9. Realise there is no such thing as perfection.
Begin the task or project knowing it can never be done perfectly. You’ll do your best. You always do.

10. Reward yourself.
Do this often and generously for accomplishing the smallest of tasks. Celebrate. Pat yourself on the back. Enjoy your accomplishment.

Like many other self-defeating behaviours, procrastination can be overcome. The place to begin is where you are.

The time to start is now!

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