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Beating Procrastination

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Mary Schuring

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of Beating Procrastination

Emotive Methods
Overcoming Procrastinaton

Hand-out "Procrastination Reasons"
Completing the hand-out will help you to identify your specific reasons for procrastination.
Planning Ahead
Here are some hands-on, immediate tools for planning. These hand-outs will help you to go home today with some spefic plans.
Overcoming Procrastination: Behavioral Methods
To beat procrastination, change your behaviors.
Overcoming Procrastination: Cognitive Methods
Change your thought patterns in order to beat procrastination.
Root Causes: Why Do We Procrastinate?
THe Emotional Difficulties and "Legitimate" Reasons that Lead to Procrastination:
Low Self-Esteem: Thinking of yourself as inadequate or unworthy. When it causes you to procrastinate, you may not do as well, thereby lowering your self-esteem. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Examples of low self-esteem thinking:
Perfectionism: If you equate your self-worth with high performance, then procrastination protects you against the risk of failure.
Need for Love: If you feel that people will accept you only if you perform well, then procrastination protects you from the risk of rejection.
Rigid Identity: If your image of yourself as a procrastinator is a self-fulfilling prophecy, then procrastination protects you from having to change.
Examples of low self-esteem thinking:
Anticipating the Worst: If you can only imagine disaster as an outcome of your performance, then procrastination protects you from anxiety.
Self-Judgment: If you judge yourself too harshly, then procrastinatin protects you from hopelessness.
Depression: If you feel overwhelmed, immobilized and helpless to perform, then procrastination protects you from hopelessness.
Low Frustration Tolerance:
If you are disappointed in your demands on life, if you feel spiteful toward teachers, parents or bosses and fail to meet their expectations, procrastination is a means of rebellion.
If you are unwilling to do hard tasks or to delay gratification, if you wait for internal motivators or inspiration, then procrastination is a means of avoiding hassle.
"Legitimate" Reasons
Ignorance: "I didn't know how to do it." "I didn't know I was supposed to do that."

Fixed Habits: "But I've always done it that way."

Inertia: "I just can't seem to get started." "It's so hard to drop one thing and pick up another."

"Legitimate" Reasons
Frailty of memory: "I just forgot!"

Skill deficiencies" "But I don't know how!"

Physical Problems: "I couldn't do it: I was sick."

Appropriate delays: "I'm waiting for the best time to do it." "I really need some creative leisure."
Frequently Used Procrastination Tactics
Put it off until later.
Wait on someone else. "I can't start my term paper until the professor explains the assignment better!"
Choose the immediate pleasurable opportunity. Seize the day.
Day-dream / Fantasize about doing task.
Lose yourself in tv, movies, music, books, magazines, entertainment.
Frequently Used Procrastination Tactics
Act impulsively without thinking of consequences.
Drink alcohol; do drugs; seek oblivion.
Read the classics, listen to classical music, do reputable cultural activities instead of task.
Develop a compulsive addition (overeating, smoking, running) that consumes your time.
Be passive. Wait for fate or circumstance to rescue you from having to act.
Frequently heard rationalizations
"I work better under pressure."
"I dont' know how to do this right. I can't do it."
"I really don't want to do this."
"It really won't make a difference if I put this off."
"I need to be in the mood to do this."
"I know I can pull this off at the last minute."

Frequently heard rationalizations:
"I'll save myself time and effort if I wait and do this all at once."
"This moment, this opportunity, will never come again."
"Forces beyond my control keep me from doing this."
"I've worked so hard, I just don't have any energy left."
"No one really cares whether I do this or not."

Self Contracting
1. Make a contract with yourself to work toward specific, immediate rewards.

2. Make something you normally do for fun dependent upon the completion of a task.

3.Establish penalties for not doing tasks.

4. Profit-Penalty System (Combination of carrot and stick, or 1 and 3 above)
Signs and Slogans.

Notes and lists.
Chunk a large task into a serious of small manageble steps.

Do little its and pieces of the task instead of taking an "all or nothing" approach.
Five-Minute Plan
Contract with yourself for five minutes worth of effort.

Consider another five minutes at the end of the first.
More Behavioral Methods
Do it when you think of it.

Establish a set time for a routine.

Modify the environment: Make your environment as conducive to working as possible, or move to a conducive environment.
Use of Friends / Other Support People
Plan with them how they will participate in the enforcement of the reward / punishment programs.

Do the task along with a friend.

At the same time, avoid over-dependent behavior.
Fixed Role Technique
Imagine completing your task like it is a movie or a play in your head.

Pretend for a given time to be a non-procrastinator.
Expect Backsliding!
Don't expect an immediate "cure" to procrastination.

Focus on your successes, not your failures.
Recognize and Alter Self-Defeating Beliefs.
Some Self-Talk is Immobilizing and Leads to Avoidance
Negative Self-Talk
Demandingness, perfectionism.
Anger, Frustration, Low Frustration Threshold.
Extreme Need for Approval.
View of self as inadequate.
View of world as too difficult.
Give into instant gratification.
Some Emotive Methods
Shame attacking exercises: do things you're afraid of. You will prove to yourself that you can survive (or thrive!)

Self-disclosure: Talking with people within your support system about your insecurities. This may free you up to take more risks.

Role-playing: Rehearse doing feared tasks. This will help you to experience your fear at a manageable level.
Some Emotive Methods
Expressing Feelings: Helps you to avoid being a procrastinator, because you will explore feelings beneath procrastination. E.g., not doing your homework because you're angry at your parents.

Imagery: Visualize yourself coping successfully with the feared task.

Increase your general pleasure in life. This may improve undesirable tasks less onerous.
Task Definition and Time Planning
Leads you through the organization of your task, by breaking it down into sub-tasks, then scheduling it into next weeks schedule.
Time Scheduling
Assists you with scheduling all of the hours of your day.

You will end up with a schedule to follow each week that will prevent procrastination.
Time Management Improvement Plan Contract
You will be lead through creating a contract with yourself that will hold you accountable for your actions.
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