We all find ourselves procrastinating on occasion. Sometimes you leave a project on the backburner, or hold off on returning a phone call.
It’s possible to get better about not putting things off, but you need to figure out why you’re postponing something in the first place.
- If you’re afraid of screwing something up: Look at the task as a way to avoid loss – for example, to keep your boss and colleagues from thinking less of you, perhaps. Think of the dire consequences of doing nothing at all. It might feel awful, but it works.
- If the task is difficult, tedious, or otherwise unpleasant: Use “if-then planning.” Decide in advance what you need to do, as well as when you need to do it. (“If it is 2pm, then I will stop what I’m doing and start working on that report.”) With a clear plan, you won’t rely on (often weak) willpower.