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February 24, 2009

Procrastination and its contents — Episode 5: Remedies


Don't you just hate people who tease you with this and that while withholding what both you and they know is what you really want?

You don't?


Without further ado, and in the hope that this is the final post in this series — which quite frankly I was already bored with after the first installment last Friday — here's how to solve your  procrastination problem.

1. Deal in concrete facts rather than abstractions. Sean McCrae, an assistant professor of motivational and social psychology at the University of Konstanz in Germany, reported last year in the journal Psychological Science "... that when you think of a task in less abstract terms you can get a handle on it and finish it sooner."

2. Take distant goals and break them down into more immediate ones.

3. Decrease or eliminate temptations — for example, move an email icon to make it less visible, turn off alert beeps, and delay email access.

4. Get the things you need for a task — pens, Post-It flags, binder clips to organize papers, etc. — out and put them on the stuff you need to do. It's a way of breaking down the barrier of resistance.

5. My favorite: get a kitchen timer like the one up top and set it for a five-minute countdown, telling yourself that when the five minutes is up you can stop the targeted task and do whatever else you like. Invariably all it takes is that initial breaking of the ice to make you think hey, I can do five more, and then you another five and pretty soon you're well into things and you no longer need the crutch to finish it. Very effective.

As always, the bookofjoe guarantee applies, to wit: If you're not completely satisfied with the results, let me know and I'll cheerfully refund every penny you paid for it.

February 24, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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One thing works for me, almost all the time.
When faced with a boring/complicated/tedious/lengthy task, my goal is to finish it. Wind it up, so I can have a cheezburger and run and whoop wild in the streets! Now, the job must be done well, of course, or there's no point. So, working at my diligent best, ears back, nose to the grindstone, harness on and plow through -- ye-HAAH, Mule!, as it were.

To whip up my zeal for the plunge into such a frenzy of productivity, in my head I play a favorite scene from a favorite movie: Cool Hand Luke. When Luke tells his fellow road workers that they're gonna "stick it to the man", and shows them what he means, and they finish tarring that long old road with hours to spare, and George Kennedy asks him, "What are we gonna do now?" and Luke says "NOTHIN'!" and then laughs that crazy, triumphant laugh? I get all fired-up and inspired...gonna finish this damn thing and then do NOTHING! At least for a few minutes. Hah, take THAT, procrastination gremlins!


Posted by: Flautist | Feb 24, 2009 4:33:11 PM

Sounds like FlyLady for engineers.

Posted by: Lilorfnannie | Feb 24, 2009 3:19:08 PM

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