*By Frances Bridges
When you have a great deal of work to complete in a short period of time, it is easy to let your stress and anxiety paralyze you. So how do you plow through your fears? You make a plan and execute it, one step at a time. Below are three easy ways to galvanize you into action, and navigate through your procrastination when you are short on time:
Do Anything To Get Started
Chris Bailey, author of “Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction” and “The Productivity Project” reports in The Harvard Business Review that the tasks that provoke procrastination are rarely as bad as we think. “Getting started on something forces a subconscious reappraisal of that work, where we might find that the actual task sets off fewer triggers than we originally anticipated,” he writes. Research suggests we remember unfinished tasks more than completed projects, and that memory often motivates us to finish what we’ve begun, illustrating the importance of getting started.
Set Reasonable Goals
In “Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination: Classroom Resources For Addressing Procrastination,” by Dominic Voge, an article for the Princeton University McGraw Center for Teaching And Learning, he writes that setting reasonable goals is the key to productivity. He says, “making a huge list of ‘things to do’ or scheduling every minute of your day may INCREASE your stress and thus procrastination. Instead, set reasonable goals (e.g. a manageable list of things to do), break big tasks down, and give yourself flexibility and allot time to things you enjoy as rewards for work completed.”
Find An Accountability Partner
Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo writes in Psychology Today that if you have a major deadline approaching, break down your work into increments, and set a deadline for each part. Then find a friend who will help hold you accountable. Set up regular meetings on the phone, videoconference, etc. to discuss what you’ve completed and what you will commit to preparing for your next meeting. It is an effective check on procrastination.
*Frances Bridges is a twentysomething freelance journalist, writer and blogger in New York City.
*This article first appeared on the forbes.com website.