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Win the War
(Continued from 1)

Itís human nature to put off activities that seem large and unmanageable. Dr. Michael R. Edelstein, clinical psychologist and author of Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, puts it this way, "We overwhelm ourselves with expectations of completing an entire task in one sitting. Consequently, we defeat ourselves even before we begin."

Lisa Rasch had avoided finishing her degree for several years. She considered returning to school many times, but would always end up feeling exhausted just thinking about the work ahead. Although the idea of tackling the course work that stood between her and a degree nagged at her continually, she never could seem to muster the motivation to jump in and get started. Until she began breaking the entire task down into manageable milestones, that is.

By focusing on taking one or two classes each semester as opposed to obsessing about the amount of work ahead of her, Rasch was able to punch away her procrastination demon.

Although this new goal allowed for slow progress, it was progress nonetheless. Lisa has no regrets about returning to school. After one year, she is enjoying milestones such as completing her core curriculum and moving to sophomore status that reinforce her feeling of progress and accomplishment.

The moral here? Sometimes the only way we can eventually complete a large job is to divide and conquer it!

Often, the most difficult part of finishing is often simply beginning. Procrastinators tend to focus on the immediate pleasure of avoiding unpleasant tasks. What they donít think about is the pain they will experience later!

According to Kevin Polk, Ph.D., a Maine-based organizational psychologist and time management expert, "Procrastination is all about short-term pleasure up against long-term gain. (Putting it off) feels good now, hard work might lead to benefits later."

Accept the fact that you will never be "in the mood" to do some things. Maturity and discipline are evident when we rise above ambivalent feelings and take responsibility, regardless of how tempting it is to wait until tomorrow.

Challenge yourself with the following self-talk: "I wonít ever feel like beginning this project, so Iím not going to wait until it appeals to me. I resolve to start on it now, with a smile!"

It doesnít take a genius to realize that disorganization is a breeding ground for procrastination. Being unable to find that needed report or reference book is a handy excuse for not getting started. In fact, we may often remain disorganized unconsciously in order to assist us in our avoidance.

Remove this crutch away from yourself immediately. Take simple steps toward organizing your lifeókeep a daily planner, dispose of unnecessary paper as soon as you get it, invest in a simple diary system to remind yourself of events. You can do wonders for uncluttering your mind and life; in reality, a cluttered work area manifests slow productivity, and less job satisfaction. Even if organization does not come easily for you, concentrate on overcoming your natural tendencies. New habits really can be learned, if you set your mind to it.


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