Don't Let Procrastination Drag You Down

University of Calgary B-school professor Piers Steel has developed a formula to help you fight the desire to postpone important work

Here are six ways you can fight debilitating procrastination:

•Precommitment. Force yourself to do what needs to be done. Think of Ulysses tying himself to the mast to get past the tempting songs of the Sirens.

•Do unpleasant work when you have the most energy—early, and in the morning.

•Set attainable goals and do the work in steps.

•Unplug distractions, such as TV and computers.

•The five-minute rule. Commit to doing the job for five minutes. At the end of five minutes, commit to another five minutes.

•Examine the reasons you procrastinate. Ask yourself what makes doing the work too difficult and why would it get easier with time.

By the Associated Press

Sources: Piers Steel of the University of Calgary, author-psychologist William Knaus.

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