If you’re someone who postpones important projects until the last minute, listen up! Since psychologists began studying procrastination 40 years ago, the number of people who do it has jumped 400 percent! But University of Ottawa researchers say you can overcome your tendency to put things off by not falling for the top 3 rationalizations or procrastinators:
Rationalization #1: “I work better under pressure.” Experts say the myth persists for one simple reason: People who procrastinate always work under pressure so, they eventually come to believe that it helps them perform. The fix: Try completing a task ahead of time just once. That way, you can make an honest comparison. Odds are, you’ll enjoy the work more and do a better job when you give yourself more time.
The next rationalization: You’ve got a big task – like cleaning out the attic and you think: “I need a big block of uninterrupted time.” Time management expert Alan Lakein recommends using what he calls the “Swiss Cheese Approach.” Instead of holding out for a large chunk of free of time – which may never happen - poke a 15-minute hole in your project whenever you can. Pretty soon, you’ll have poked so many holes in your project, it’ll be done.
And final procrastination pitfall: “I’ll do a better job tomorrow.” Industrial psychologist Dr. Piers Steel says that it’s rare to find someone who’s both a perfectionist and a procrastinator. When someone really cares about the results, they dive right into a project, because they know they’ll be just as short of time tomorrow. Which means, waiting won’t do them any good.