Design Your Own Anti-Procrastination Plan

Design Your Own Anti-Procrastination Plan

Below are several lists of specific, concrete things you can do to confront and change your own tendencies to procrastinate. Choose several suggestions from among the four lists and put them into practice. If these activities work, keep on with them; if not, try different ones. Persist. Keep a record of your activities on the other side of this sheet.

First, schedule your tasks for your project.

_____ Write down a list of the tasks you must undertake to complete
your project. Set priorities among these. Mark each one off as you
complete it … and reward yourself.

_____ Start with the most unpleasant task — to get it over with — and work down until you get to the easier ones.

Do something daily on your project, even if it is only for 5 minutes.
Write down two or three things you can do toward your task which you
can accomplish in 5 minutes and then do one of them … and reward

_____ Schedule work on one of your avoided tasks so
that it is contingent upon something you already normally do and enjoy.
For example, "I’ll work on my term paper in the library half an hour
before going to play racquetball."

Second, take action!

When it comes time to do your task and you are tempted to
procrastinate, make yourself sit down for 5 minutes and think about
what you are about to do. Envision the emotional and physical
consequences of procrastinating — and of following through on your plan
to work. After you think this over, go ahead and do what you judge best
… with no apologies or second thoughts!

_____ Imagine how you
would behave in the next hour or day if you were NOT a procrastinator.
Get a clear picture in your mind — and then act out that role, pretend,
for the next hour or day, that you are not a procrastinator. When you
are done, evaluate your "acting": did you do a good job? How did it

_____ When you feel an impulse to work on your project,
follow up on it: do it at the moment you think of it and keep at it
until you don’t feel like it anymore.

_____ Decide on a specific
reward for success — and/or a punishment for failure — at working on
your task. Make it realistic and follow through. For example, you might
decide that you won’t take a bath on a day when you don’t work on your

Third, use your friends!

_____ Make a contract with a friend or teacher to get a specific task done.

Make an appointment with a teacher, tutor, or someone who can consult
with you on your project. Ask for help and advice about proceeding.

Make a lunch or dinner date with a friend. Tell your friend that you
want their support, that you want to talk about your feelings about
your project, that you want them to encourage you.

_____ If you
have something frightening to do — talking to a professor, for example
— ask a friend to listen to you rehearse what you have to say, so that
you can face and live through and cope with your fear.

Fourth, keep a journal!

Every day, write in your journal to give yourself credit for what you
have accomplished, to genuinely forgive yourself for backsliding, and
to plan your next anti-procrastination activity.

_____ In your journal, identify rationalizations, confront yourself, and redirect yourself to your task.

_____ Recognize negative attitudes and write out positive, encouraging attitudes.

_____ If you get mad, write out all your frustrations and anger in your journal.

_____ If you make a mistake, write out the interesting, beneficial things you learned from it.


Each time you do one of the activities listed on this page, write down the date and a note about what you did and the outcome
of your activity. Bring this log with you to your appointment with the
Learning Specialist. (If you don’t do very many, don’t let that bother
you; keep your appointment anyway and you can talk over the
difficulties you encountered. Remember — changing old habits is hard!)

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