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We all procrastinate, the issue is what do we do about it? How do we think through procrastination? How do we deal with it? The Wikipedia starts its article on Procrastination with a definition:

In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.

Some useful things to do when you find yourself procrastinating:

  • Confront yourself: Admit you are procrastinating. Confronting procrastination is usually a good first step.
  • Draw up a list of tasks that have to be done and prioritize them. Look at the high-priority tasks at the top of the list that you are procrastinating on. Ask yourself for each one why you are reluctant to do that. What makes that task something you want to put off? Why are other tasks more attractive? Ask yourself why you are procrastinating on a particular task?
  • Don't Do Anything Else: Don't let yourself do any of the other tasks until you have done one of the tasks that you don't want to do. Do not check email, do not twitter about procrastination, do not read a book ... don't do anything but sit still until you are willing to start on the task. Boredom often works.
  • Forgive Yourself: The more you procrastinate on a task the worse it gets. The more you put it off the more you feel guilty for not doing it and the more you feel guilty the more you will want to avoid the task. To break free from the spiral of guilt you have to forgive yourself for messing up and putting this off.
  • Think About the People Involved: The tasks you avoid are usually ones that involve people that you don't want to disappoint (because you should have done the task a week ago) or people you don't want to deal with for some other reason.

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