Everybody can relate to the stress one feels when they’re actively trying to avoid a task that needs to be accomplished. If you find yourself constantly bombarded with unfinished tasks; and living with an ever-present feeling of dread, you might be a victim of procrastination. Procrastination is a completely natural human response that works to prioritize tasks. The problem arises when the avoidance becomes habitual. As unfinished to-do items stack up, one will start to feel overwhelmed and suddenly nothing gets done. The following is a handful of strategies to combat the self-sabotaging effects of procrastination.

To-Don’t Lists:

Creating a list of things you need to accomplish by a certain date can be extremely practical. If you’ve already tried this, and still find yourself struggling to prioritize, then it’s probably time to reevaluate your schedule. There are things out there that have some semblance of personal value to you, but also don’t necessarily have to be done. Take a hard look at your list and remove some of the undone items that are holding you back from the more important tasks at hand. Suddenly you’ll find copious spare time you can use to do the dishes, take out the trash, and put away your laundry.

Worthless Deadlines:

If you convinced yourself that something absolutely needs to get done by a certain time, check again and make sure that it’s actually the case. No, this isn’t a form of procrastination. Perhaps you’ve just created a rule for yourself .  One that is an unfair or has completely unrealistic expectation. For example, if you’ve made yourself responsible for three dishes on Thanksgiving and always procrastinate on making them on schedule.  Maybe it’s time to make a new rule. Who says it’s necessary to bring three dishes? What if it’s only two, or one? The point is to not overload yourself with unnecessary chores, so don’t.

Reward Yourself:

If there is something really important you’ve been avoiding, like updating your resume for example, clear out an entire day and finish this one thing. Make a deal with yourself that once this one obligation is completed, you can do whatever you want with the rest of the day. This is a great way to empower yourself and gain confidence.  It also creats what usually amounts to a ton of free time. You can use it to accomplish even more productive work or binge Netflix for 12 hours.

Conclusion:

When you make an effort to implement these tips for avoiding procrastination, you’ll start to feel the heavy weight of unattended responsibilities begin to lift. Remember, you have to take care of yourself before you can take of others.   Ultimately, it’s always important to reassess the self-imposed deadlines you’ve set for yourself.