Procrastination: The Pesky Bug to Beat

Procrastination is an ugly habit that is hard to beat. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us have succumbed to the powers of procrastination in our lifetime. It truly is a pesky bug that always seems to be coming back, proving extremely difficult to get rid of. Productivity is essential in both the corporate world (meeting work deadlines) and in our personal lives (planning a trip or managing appointments). Therefore, PRLine is here to offer some quick procrastination elimination tips. Instead of listing these tips, however, we thought it might be  interesting to tackle a real-life scenario.

Scenario: You have a five page proposal to prepare for your company due at the end of next business week, and three days have already passed since you received the appointment. At this time, you worry that you will not complete the task, but still seem to convince yourself that you can put it off one more day, struggling to find the right motivation. How can you tackle your procrastination?

First, visualize the end result and get excited about it! In other words, picture the weight off your shoulders when you print the proposal. Imagine the smell of freshly printed paper and the smile on your boss’s face when you turn in the assignment. It seems menial, but it does work. If you can  visualize and anticipate the end goal, the task becomes interesting and the motivation increases.

Second, employ the Zeigarnik effect,  named after Russian Psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik. According to an article in PSYBLOG, the Zeigarnik effect tackles procrastination by encouraging victims to just start somewhere, anywhere. In the case of the above scenario, try drafting an outline on the main points in the proposal, or try typing the first couple of sentences. Often the hardest part of a project  is taking the initial step – once that is over it is much easier to get on a roll and ride it all the way out.

Third, set daily goals. If you cannot hold yourself accountable, have a co-worker or public calendar keep you accountable. I find the latter choice more desirable since everyone else also has their own “stuff” going on. If you publicly display goals on  a calendar with a box to check next to it (), you will be more compelled to complete the task. This makes the task be visible to everyone else so that you will feel accountable for completing that day’s portion of the proposal. Furthermore, it also will give you a sense of accomplishment once you can check the box. This will definitely motivate you – I know it works for me.

Happy exterminating the pesky procrastination bug!

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