Stress Control: PROCRASTINATION

  People procrastinate for a swarm of reasons. Some say it’s simply habit, a product of how we were brought up, while others think it’s a clear sign of mental health issues. Here is a short, fun quiz to see what kind of procrastinator you might be.

When confronted with a large, complex task you: A. Get on it immediately - too much on your plate makes you anxious. B. Start thinking about ways to tackle the project by making lists. C. Put it out of your head completely - due date is a month away.

Your in-laws are coming to dinner. You want to impress them so you: A. Paint the living room two weeks before the big day. B. The day before, you clean house, buy fresh flowers and a prime roast. C. Order in.

At work, colleagues describe your work style as: A. Diligent but uptight. B. Conscientious and fair. C. Reasonable but a little flaky and unreliable.

Here’s the interpretation of your answers: If you pick A’s: You need to procrastinate more or at least relax a bit. If you pick B’s: You’re well balanced in the procrastination department. If you pick C’s: It’s time to curb your procrastinating because it’s annoying others.

Here are some helpful suggestions to stop you from your delay tactics.

• Time to jump in - literally. Your mantra should be stop thinking and start doing. By over thinking and attempting to dream up the perfect plan you put off the inevitable. Get on with it.

• Do something, anything. If you tend to magnify and blow things out of proportion, you end up imagining that it’s much worse than it is. Take the big first step.

• Make deadlines. To help yourself set a manageable pace other than breakneck, set deadlines or mini deadlines for the completion of something.

• Large complex tasks. Need to be broken down into smaller more manageable segments. Attempt each separately. Break four hours of dreaded paperwork into one-hour slots. Start with the easiest. Take a break after each block of time and perhaps even treat yourself to a latte.

• Be accountable. Use the friends and family approach by making yourself accountable to them for completing a project. Look to a trusted friend for encouragement and support.

• Turn down the volume. Because we are so hyper-connected these days this can be hard to do, but it’s a must if you’re a diehard procrastinator who gets easily distracted. No TVs, radios, iPods because their job is to divert your attention.

• Finish. As difficult as it is to start a project, remember also to finish it. There is nothing like completing a task, no matter how small, to earn you a sense of accomplishment.

Whatever your procrastination tendencies may be, here’s to overcoming them and making your life a real success.

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