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6 Ways to Break Your Habit of Procrastinating

Procrastination is all about stalling — putting off starting or finishing something out of anxiety rather than logic. It’s also a way of making your life more difficult. Break your procrastination habit with these tips from Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life.

Discover your optimal time frames. Figure out how long you’d spend on something if you were doing it at the last minute. Then give yourself ONLY that amount of time, but schedule it much earlier. Setting aside either too much time or not enough time can make you procrastinate. Tighten or expand your time frames until you find what’s right.

Choose the best time of day. Be at your peak energy when you tackle the things you tend to procrastinate.

Create bite-size chunks. Break overwhelming projects down into a series of smaller steps. If it’s hard to start a project, try tackling the second or third step first, to get some easy momentum. Delegate pieces you find particularly challenging.

Get expert guidance. If fear of making a mistake or doing a bad job is what causes you to stall endlessly, get help. Reach out to a trusted advisor, talk it through with a friend, do a practice run or first draft, and run it by someone for feedback.

Stop when you say you will. We sometimes procrastinate by not finishing something when we are done, or working on something for an undefined amount of time, which makes it more daunting to get started the next time. Determine how long you’ll give something, and stick to it. Set a timer. Give yourself 15 minutes to wrap-up, indicate your next action, and then STOP.

Choose to make your life easy. Putting things off until the last minute is also a way to throw unnecessary obstacles into your own path, making your life more difficult. That’s an old belief system. Retrain yourself to believe things don’t have to be so hard!

Julie Morgenstern is the New York Times bestselling author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life (Copyright © 2008 by Julie Morgenstern), Organizing from the Inside Out, Time Management from the Inside Out, and Never Check E-Mail in the Morning. She lives in New York City. Visit her at and join the free SHED community.




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