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Understanding and Managing Procrastination

When you delay a task to focus on something that is easier or more entertaining this can provide a sense of temporary relief.  But, the task that you have to complete is still in the back of your mind and it will remain in the back of your mind and cause stress.

 

The amount of stress that this can cause can be severe for the person that beats themselves up (i.e. lacks self-compassion).  In a 2005 study a relationship was made between procrastination and both hypertension and cardiovascular disease.  Below are 3 ways of managing procrastination:

 

1.  Start your day by doing the Most Unpleasant Tasks First.

 

If you tackle unpleasant tasks first, everything else in the day will seem relatively easier.  One study shows a study that compared two groups of people.  In one group they began an exercise program in the morning and the second group started an exercise program in the evening.  The research showed that those that exercised in the morning were much more likely to remain in the program after six months.

 

2.  Use fear as a Motivator.

 

Think what will happen if you do not complete the task at hand.  For example:

  1. If you’re procrastinating handling debt issues, think about the negative impact on your marriage.

  2. If you’re procrastinating on your tax return think about the financial penalties.

  3. If you’re procrastinating about going to the gym think about the impact to you long-term health

 

3.  Take things Step by Step.

 

When working on large more complex tasks it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  Break down the project into smaller tasks with timelines and handle them piece by piece.  With proper planning your project will feel much more manageable.  There will be a sense of accomplishment as you reach milestones and this will help keep you motivated.

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