by James Sherman
Pathway Books 1988
Do it! uncovers the causes of procrastination, and then provides 22 simple, straightforward techniques for breaking this habit.
Also see Reader Reviews at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
Please note: I have included the Table of Contents for this book below, as it was not available on Amazon.
Procrastination is the intentional and habitual postponement of something that should be done… You have to deliberately avoid your task in order to procrastinate.
You have to feel guilty about not doing what you know in your heart you’re suppose to do… If you don’t feel guilty, then you are just being selective about the things you choose to do.
Procrastinators are wishers instead of doers.
Carry out these 4 fundamental steps and you’ll stop procrastinating for good. Just be careful with the 1st step. For many people, it’s the hardest one of all, because it requires a personal commitment. If you get past that one, you’ll have smooth sailing with the other three.
1. Admit that you procrastinate and make up your mind to stop doing it.
2. Learn as much as you can about procrastination; what it is, what causes it, and what can be done to stop it
3. Decide on a definite plan of action
4. Carry out your plan.
Why people procrastinate
• Confusion (not sure where or how to start)
• Priorities (Wrong order or take on too much)
• Forgetfulness (content to let it ‘slip’ consciousness)
• Responsibility (or escape thereof)
• Risk (afraid of consequences)
• Escape (from unpleasant tasks)
• Anxiety (apprehension, fear, etc)
• Depression (from feelings of hopelessness)
• Obsessive/Compulsive Behavior
• Dependence on others
• Manipulation of others
• External pressures
• Monotony (repetitive tasks)
• Physical disability (or not feeling well)
How to Stop Procrastinating
Accentuate the positive. If you are unhappy about the task, turn those thoughts around – think how you will feel when it is done.
Examine your goals and objectives to see if they’re really attainable… Learn to recognize and understand your moods.
Conquer your fears
Deal directly with whatever you are afraid of if it makes you procrastinate. Start writing down everything you think could go wrong with a task if all your fears were to come true. Then write down how you could handle each problem if it was the only thing you had to worry about. Discipline yourself to do this exercise whenever you start getting scared.
Exercise Your Mind
Contemplate, study, reflect, initiate action, achieve, create.
Stimulate Your Senses
The more involved you are with a task, the less likely you'll be to procrastinate about doing it.
Boost your ego
Feed your self-esteem with the pleasure that comes from doing something.
A simple reward system can do a lot to help you stop procrastinating, especially if you’re faced with tasks that require a little extra effort. Just remember two things: If you earn a rewards, take it… if you don’t earn a reward, don’t take it. Reward systems are particularly effective when you have to change your behavior or eliminate a useless habit.
Change your habits
Sometimes, before you can stop procrastinating and start being successful,. You have to eliminate a bad habit or change some other pattern of behavior.
Analyze everything you have to do, especially if you’re in the habit of putting things off… if the task is really important, you’ll come up with more reasons for doing it than for delaying it. That evidence alone should give you the motivation you need to get started on it right away.
Study your task
Lack of knowledge causes apathy. And apathy is the forerunner of procrastination… studying a task and developing an interest in it is half the battle of getting it done.
If you think your task is complicated, subdivide it. Cut it up into little pieces so that you can see how its put together. The enthusiasm you’ll experience in going through the sub-tasks will speed you toward your goal and give you a great sense of accomplishment. Subdividing is particularly effective for unpleasant (or difficult) tasks, because almost anyone can do something they dislike if they on have to do it for a short time… so… spread them out and fill in time between with things you like to do. If you can’t break your task down into subtasks, subdivide the time you spend working on it.
Organize and plan
Plan every day. Make a checklist of everything you need to do during the day to accomplish your goals and objectives. Do it the first thing in the morning or the last thing the night before. Assign priorities to your tasks so you’ll be sure of doing the important things first.
“Getting Things Done: The ABC's of Time Management recommends:
1. Important and urgent – top of list
2. Important but not urgent
3. Urgent but not important
4. Busy work
5. Wasted time
Make a Commitment
Any important task has a greater chance of being completed when you formally commit yourself to doing it.
Launch a leading task
A leading task is one that breaks the ice and gets you involved in a larger task that you’ve been procrastinating about. A leading task can be as simple as looking up a phone number.
There is an immeasurable distance between being late and being too late… know what those deadlines are and know how to work with them. Identify activities that waste time and avoid them whenever you can. You’ll know you wasted time if afterwards you feel bad about postponing something you should have done. You’d be surprised at the number of times there are in a day where you can utilize unfilled moments to complete simple tasks.
If you're overwhelmed by a complex task, delegate part of it to other people.
Regulate your environment
Your environment can cause you to procrastinate if everything isn’t the way you want it to be… determine what kind of environment is best for you.
After working very hard on a task, you can very easily get bored or fatigued... Physical activity - especially walking - is very effective as a diversion... Take a rest if you're experiencing physical fatigue.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- A definition
- The nature of the beast
- The consequences
- A method
- What's ahead
- Analytical Abilitly
- Obsessive/Compulsive behavior
- Dependence on others
- Manipulation of others
- External pressures
- Physical disabilities
- Coming up
- Be happy
- Know Yourself
- Conquer your fears
- Exercise your mind
- Stimulate your senses
- Boost you ego
- Reward yourself
- Change your habits
- Study your tasks
- Organize and plan
- Set priorities
- Be decisive
- Make a commitment
- Launch a leading task
- Visualize completion
- Appreciate time
- Be impartial
- Regulate your environment
- seek diversions
- Here and now
- Long term