August 29, 2007

Breaking the Procrastination Cycle

Procrastination gets the best of even the most efficient of us at one point or another. If you feel a cringe factor each time you contemplate tackling a particular project high on your priority list, try the following techniques to transform angst to action.


  • Make a list of your procrastination projects, ranked in order of their importance to you.
  • Visualize the results of the project once it’s completed: the finished albums, the filed papers, or the clean basement.
  • Move the procrastination item that bugs you the most or has the most pressing need to the top of your daily to-do list. Schedule it in your calendar, and treat it like a medical appointment—when the time comes, do it. Set up a time to tackle the hardest part of the project when you have the most energy during the day.
  • Use the incredibly effective organizational technique of the ten-minute rule: set your kitchen timer so that you’ll work on the project for ten minutes, because after all, how terrible can ten minutes be? Simply getting starting will often mobilize you and make the project seem feasible. Once you get going, you will likely find you don’t want to stop when the buzzer goes off.
  • Set yourself a time goal and turn it into a challenge to beat the clock.
  • Play music that inspires you, and make yourself work for a set number of songs.
  • Pick someone to check in on your progress and to motivate you.
  • Invite a friend over to work on her projects side by side with you, such as on holiday cards, with all the supplies in the middle of the table and good conversation to keep you inspired.
  • Reward yourself for milestones and give yourself an incentive for getting the task finally done. Pick incentives that work best to motivate you, such as a gym workout, tennis game, or coffee with a friend. Promise yourself a reward that you can only get if you finish your task within a certain time period.
  • Team synergy around a project will make it more fun and less burdensome. Make a late night snack, pour drinks for yourself and your spouse, put on your favorite music, and attack those bills together.
  • Take the time to savor your accomplishments when you complete them.


Stacy DeBroff
CEO, Mom Central, Inc.
Author of The Mom Book, 4,278 of Mom Central's Tips...for Moms, from Moms


Rose Yanez

A sincere thank you...I am a mother of 4 and sometimes it just gets overwhelming...but it is all in how we're organized. Thanks!

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