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10 Ways to Stop Procrastinating

Sometimes, what we want to do, and what we need to do are two very different things. We're all guilty of it. Procrastination: the intentional and habitual postponement of an important task.

We need to go through mom's over-cluttered, filled-to-capacity closet that boarders on hoarding, and get rid of the junk. But we want to take a break, and just kick our feet up. It's been a rough week. We need to get our taxes done – and dad's, too – we've already filed an extension. But it's such a beautiful day, it would be a shame to waste it indoors, so we want to take a walk with dad.

When we procrastinate too much for too long, important things don't get done. It starts a vicious cycle. You wait until the last minute. Then you're stressed because you've run out of time. You feel tremendous amounts of guilt. You're angry at yourself for being in this position, again. Your self-esteem plummets.

So what can you do? To stop procrastinating, you will have to break old habits and develop new ones. Here are 10 tips to help you to stop procrastinating and start living your life more productively. The key is to take the first step – it won't be as bad as you think!

1. Create a To-Do List

Not a mental list – but one written on a piece of paper. Something about the process of writing it down makes you focus on the tasks at hand. Prioritize your list. What must be conquered immediately? Next, estimate how long each project will take and time your day accordingly. Don't overbook. Leave some extra for life's interruptions that will no doubt come up.

2. Break it Down

Break large jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks. Plan and complete a start-up task, no matter how small. Tackle each piece, one by one.

3. Set Short-Term Deadlines

Set deadlines for completing a job. Assign yourself small-scale deadlines. Work in small blocks of time instead of in long stretches. Take a short break once a part of the task is complete.

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