Words - 356 Reading Level - 10.3

It's hard to imagine anyone who has never procrastinated. We all have to face unpleasant tasks at various times, from taking out the garbage to working through a stack of personal or office related papers to handling a minor yet nagging problem.

Sometimes the cost of procrastination is significant. For example some chronic procrastinators have been known to delay filling out federal tax forms to the point that the internal revenue service had to take legal action against them. Others have lost their jobs because they could never get their work done on time. Some hard core procrastinators have actually put off filling their cars gas tank only to be reminded later when they become stranded on the highway.

Most of the research about procrastination has been carried out on the most classic group of procrastinators - college students. Theories based on this research suggest people procrastinate for different reasons. Some fear that they cannot live up to the impossibly high standards that they set for themselves so they avoid the task in order to avoid the anxiety. Others are overwhelmed at the sheer volume of work facing them. However some students say that they thrive on the pressure of a tight deadline and believe that their final product is better than if they had completed the task earlier. Researchers call these explanations cognitive distortions. To combat this distorted thinking experts have told college students to tackle their work with the attitude that they are smart and capable enough to complete it in the specified time. Their suggestions might make sense for you too.

If you are a procrastinator develop a plan with firm deadlines that target various steps of the task You can do this by breaking large tasks into smaller manageable chunks. A good benchmark is to estimate the time that you think you will need to complete the task and then double it. Share your deadline plan with others to provide extra motivation and then reward yourself when tasks are completed by the intended date. Also make your tasks meaningful and eliminate those that you never plan to do.

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