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CareersMany people feel that their tendency to put things off till the last minute is similar to delay management, where tasks and reactions are evaluated according to when they will deliver the best results. Unfortunately, unlike delay management which can be utilised in many spheres ranging from management to medicine, procrastination only results in work piling up, wasted opportunities and, quite often, failure.

So how do you overcome procrastination? Do you wait for the right mood, the perfect time, an easier task or a bolt of inspiration? No – you can do so by following these steps:

  • Get organised: Disorganised people tend to procrastinate the most. Prioritise your tasks, maintain regular to do lists, avoid multitasking, set proper goals and delegate when required.
  • Divide and conquer: Break bigger assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks and tick them off one by one. These small ‘victories’ will boost your confidence and encourage you to progress further down the list.
  • Keep the end in mind: In the words of Stephen Covey: “A building follows a blueprint.” Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking about how long it is going to finish something; it will only discourage you. Think about the task at hand, what you need to do to complete it, and plan accordingly.
  • Reward yourself: Nothing marks an achievement like a celebration, no matter how small it is. Even if you feel empowered enough to take on the world, reward yourself after you complete a task by taking a short break, having lunch or a cup of coffee.

It’s vital to associate feelings of success with the completion of a task.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to just getting it done, so take the plunge and get to work. The longer procrastinate, the more excuses you will make for not doing it. Remember, putting off a task does not make it go away but doing it certainly does.

– Zeeshan Lakhpaty
The writer is a professional corporate trainer. zeeshan@peopleexcellence.biz.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 3, 2012.

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