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Procrastination is said to be one of the biggest barriers that keeps people from reaching their goals.

It is human nature to want to relax and do something fun instead of working hard and follow a schedule. Once you get used to procrastinating it’s difficult to snap yourself out of it. It takes a lot of work to break this bad habit.

I speak from experience when it comes to procrastination.  I used to procrastinate when preparing for speaking engagements. Often times I would find myself falling behind and then being forced scurrying around last minute, trying to put my best foot forward for the upcoming performance. I decided that procrastination did not belong in my tool box of success and I developed a few tools to end its hold on my life.

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6 Tips to Extinguish Procrastination

1. Treat procrastination like a bad habit.

It is said that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. Considering that we are born to want seek pleasure and relax, every day we must fight against procrastination.

Awareness is key. To break procrastination, I must always be aware that it is easy to return to these old habits.  Since I have a tendency to procrastinate I am always aware it could be there.

Procrastination has a component of time. It can rob us of our time and stir up chaos in our lives that is unnecessary. In essence we need to manage our time better. In turn this will help us better manage emotions that often times does not need to be part of the equation.

A key to managing our time better is to keep a calendar.  I set a calendar of daily, weekly and monthly events. I take special note of the things that I tend to procrastinate and begin to focus in on making them my favorite tasks or things to do. The more I am aware of how procrastination is upsetting my time and emotion, the easier it is to overcome its stronghold on my life.

2. Adjust your attitude.

I start with changing my stinking thinking. I don’t often role out of bed with the doldrums but turning positivity up a notch always improves any situation.

Changing your attitude about the things in which you procrastinate can dramatically improve your relationship with them. If you can relate to the events in a positive way, you are less likely to procrastinate. If you tend to procrastinate at work, change your attitude about your job or work place. Begin each morning affirming that you love your workplace, work mates, and work surroundings. Look for ways you can step up and lead in your job description.

Don’t wait for others to improve your life and daily experience. If it turns out you really don’t like your job or work place and cannot improve it, then maybe it is time to find a new job. How about finding a new adventure or hobby that extinguishes your procrastination?

If you procrastinate around spending time with certain people, budget the time you spend with them wisely. Try meeting at your favorite coffee shop or at a relaxing spa for a change of atmosphere.  You can guide and direct how you spend your time.

Procrastination is often linked somehow to an attitude of dislike or uncomfortableness. If we can identify it, we can eliminate it. Search for where your attitude needs an improvement and you will find why you procrastinate.

3. Focus on being punctual.

If you tend to always be running late and never show up on time, begin to evaluate how that effects the other people in your life.  Do they have to pick up slack for you? Are projects delayed because of your sloppiness? Are you always feeling rushed because you arrive 15 minutes late?

Procrastination can set your world upside down along with every one else in which you are involved. Lack of punctuality can be seen and viewed as a character flaw.  Don’t wait for your boss to write you up over punctuality.

Start by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier. This results in punctuality, which is always the goal.  If you need a reminder for an upcoming appointment or meeting, set an alarm on your smart phone.  Ask people to help hold you accountable for your time. A simple change in punctuality can influence your whole life.

4. Set a goal of starting and finishing early.

If you are one that waits until the last minute to complete a project, try to start a little early this time. Why wait until the last minute?

When you commit to a project, commit to getting it done at least 24 hours early. If you have a month to prepare, how about getting it done a week ahead of time. Set your deadline early.  It helps to put the deadline on the calendar a week in advance. If you do this, then you can have a week for fine tuning.

You will be encouraged when you find out how much emotional energy you save by starting early. An added bonus is that positive emotional energy has vital components necessary to preserving your long term health.

5. Set yourself up for success.

Shift your identity from a person of procrastination to a person of timely success. How you think about yourself is part of the problem. If you are a known procrastinator, start to envision yourself in a whole new light, believing that you are a person who accomplishes things in a timely manner.

Push yourself to be the one to show up on time or perhaps early. Stop letting attitudes of failure stand in your way. If you don’t like something and it is causing you to procrastinate, identify the problem and then fix it.  If you can not fix it, change it before it becomes a permanent part of your identity and how people view you.

6. Create healthy spaces to procrastinate.

Procrastination is not always a bad thing. We need to relax, stroll around the park, take a nap, or do nothing sometimes.
It is great for stress relief it is not impeding on our professional life. Some of us over achievers need to set aside time to procrastinate.

If you allow time for purposeful and personal procrastination, it does not control you.  Instead, you control it and give it permission to be in your life where you want it.

Procrastination does not have to be a nuisance.  You can turn it into a tool to drive you to success. Learn to recognize it, how and where it sneaks into your life, and then set up a few tools to extinguish it.  It is as simple as that.

Oh, one more thing. How about not procrastinating putting these simple steps into action? NOW seems like as good a time as any. Wouldn’t you agree?