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Glenford Smith | Three habits to master procrastination

Published:Wednesday | August 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I routinely start off a project with much enthusiasm but struggle to finish it. It is terribly frustrating and is becoming a bother now. I have two unfinished reports to give my boss but can't seem to get the time to complete them. I have the same problem at home, but I'll spare you that. What do you suggest?

- G. Johnson

CAREERS: Thanks for your letter. This is a serious problem which many people have confronted. Fortunately, many have overcome it. It can wreak havoc on your productivity - and your reputation. This is something that all productive people have had to learn to master at some time, so don't feel like it's you alone. We get all the way through the completion stage - but leave one last thing undone.

It should be noted first of all that incompletes indicate where we are not clear about our lives. Alternatively, they point to areas in our lives where we have emotional and psychological blocks or just plain bad

workhabits. You must look at your life and determine which of these represent the real reason.

The following are three ways that many people have found to be very helpful in mastering procrastination. To really master the new habit, you will need to know your patterns and bad habits to set up strategies to counter them. Your habits are very intractable and hard to deal with, so taking time to be knowledgeable will be rewarded.

Brian Tracy's Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is a good resource that will prove helpful.


The first thing is that you must develop new, more productive habits. Make them automatic in order that you don't have to struggle to do them every time. At first, you will have to discipline yourself. There is no help for this, and you cannot escape it.

Get in the habit of working when you are at work. Discipline yourself and eliminate the habit of getting up when you're feeling tense. Set up your workspace so it is not distracting you, with the latest gadgets such as phone, tablets, iPod, open browser or book.

Now, I know these do not sound like they are dealing immediately with the problem. But dealing with your habits require these steps. With them you will take a big leap in developing new and better habits overall.

The second suggestion is to mark off uninterrupted time when you sit and discipline yourself to just do the task. Again, at first you have to discipline yourself. Think of what will happen if you don't buckle down and almost force yourself to do the unpleasant task of doing the reports. The negative consequence will force you to do this. Discipline yourself to sit in the chair; you will still feel like getting up.

Finally, have fun. Have a system for rewarding yourself when you finish one report and then another. You will see that contrary to what you would have thought before, it is far more enjoyable and pleasurable to get things done, rather than putting it off. Another by-product is that you will find yourself getting more productive and effective at your work.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'