Everyone procrastinates at times, but if another nail biter of a deadline looms, and you swore never again, here are a few intervention ideas.
First, realize that procrastination is a natural occurrence. Your brain is designed to avoid pain, and work registers in your brain as pain. You might initially motivate yourself with anticipated positive feelings of completing your project early, but your brain is more conditioned to appreciate rewards that are right here and now. Hence, you procrastinate.
While now knowing how the brain works may inspire you to fight back, follow these steps to make it easier:
- When you are assigned a task, act immediately in some way to create momentum. Simply organizing the steps needed to complete your project might be enough.
- Break your tasks into manageable sections. This makes tackling a large task easier and helps prevent you from feeling overwhelmed— another pain point that invites your brain to procrastinate.
- Plan how you will tackle each subsection. If your deadline is seven days away, complete one-seventh of the goal each day. Give yourself a small but meaningful reward for each step completed.
- Plan and achieve some desirable personal goals that have nothing to do with your project during this period—chores, household projects, etc. These successes empower you and will transfer to your determination to complete the work on time.
Source: UTEAP FrontLine Employee (July 2017)