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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's going to hurt whether you do the work or not -- so you might as well do the work

Here's another procrastination tip adapted from The Now Habit. If you're procrastinating on starting or finishing an assignment, you're probably afraid that working on the assignment will be painful.

But consider this.  Not working on the assignment is also painful. Procrastination hurts. While there is a pay-off in that you get to do something you'd rather do than the dreaded assignment, it still hurts. You can't really enjoy the other activity because you feel guilty that you are not working on the assignment. Meanwhile, as the minutes or hours tick away, your anxiety increases as you add the fear that you won't get the job done to whatever fears you had before.

The trick is to accept that there are no good alternatives.

Procrastinators often hope that if they wait long enough, a solution will magically arise that will enable them to complete the dreaded task without any pain or to avoid it forever without any consequences. Unfortunately, that rarely happens.

Once you accept that your choice is between two painful options -- the pain of continuing to procrastinate and the pain of starting or finishing the dreaded task -- then a real solution becomes available.  Simply pick the painful option that will have the most long-term benefits.  Almost always,, that will be the option of doing the work.

Accepting there are no good choices is oddly liberating.

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