Have you ever stopped to take a “ten-minute break” and then realized, three hours later, you had gotten sucked into Facebook? Or chosen to clean your house instead of working on a project? Most of us have ways in which we procrastinate, putting off something we have to do by doing something we want to do instead, or simply doing anything other than what we should be doing. So how can you fight a natural inclination?

  • Change your goal setting method. Your “future self” knows you want to drop a pants size and knows you do that through exercise and diet. But the “present self” doesn’t necessarily want to put in the work, or gets distracted or busy, wanting the instant gratification that a chocolate chip cookie can bring and would rather take a nap after a long day than hit the gym. So, decide to simply start: Once you’ve taken that first literal or figurative step, it makes it much easier to take the next one. If you make smaller, more immediate goals along the way, your long-term goal will feel much more doable.
  • Look at your schedule. Staying with exercise, you may think you just “don’t have time” to do it; you may have a full-time job and a family, or other activities that keep you busy. But you can carve time out…and know it doesn’t necessarily require an hour, five days a week. Do what you can, make it a habit and build in more time as your schedule allows. Above all, PLAN it as you would a doctor appointment (which you wouldn’t miss, right?). Whether it’s a work project, putting up Christmas lights or paying your bills, setting a specific time (and multiple reminders) makes it that much more likely that you’ll stay on track.
  • Ask for help. You don’t have to do this alone, by the way. If you need someone to help you with time management or staying on track, ask a friend to help you set up a schedule or check in. If you have trouble figuring out timing, use a Pomodoro timer to set up work and break time (and add up each one to see how long something does take). Make a list, either on your phone or in a notebook (try a Bullet Journal) of the top three things you want to do that day, check it midway through the day and once more at night to prepare for the next day. Have people help you celebrate your small and big victories.

Procrastination doesn’t have to rule your life. With some small, consistent changes, you can take back your time –making more for yourself in the process. If you need other health advice, visit the experts at Medical Professionals.

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