Identify and Plan:
- Identify your special behavioral diversions
- Note when and where you use them
- Plan how to diminish and control their use
Bits and Pieces:
- Break large tasks into small ones.
- Prioritize work and set deadlines.
- Use behavioral suggestions, e.g., lay the book you have to read out in plain view.
The Ten Minute Plan:
- Work on a dreaded task for ten minutes, then decide whether or not to continue.
Bogged in the Middle:
- Change location or position; take a break; switch subjects or tasks.
- Make contracts with yourself or someone you see regularly.
- Reward yourself for accomplishment.
Cognitive Strategies to Overcome Procrastination
Prepare yourself mentally. Think of:
- When, not if
- The price of delay
- Positive thoughts
- Learn to tolerate discomfort
Watch for mental self-seductions into behavioral diversions. Examples include:
- "I'll do it tomorrow"
- "What's the harm of a half-hour of TV now? I've still got time"
- "I deserve some time for myself"
- "I can't do it."
Dispute mental diversions: Ex. "I really don't have that much time left, and other things are sure to come up later," or "If I get this done, I'll be better able to enjoy my time," or "Once I get started, it won't be that bad."
Mendelson and Stuckey, 1983 University Counseling Center, UNC-Chapel Hill - Not to be duplicated without permission of authors. Compiled by Pauline McNeill, 1992