P.A. Tools for Recovery
From the P.A. Meeting Materials...
- Break It Down: Break down projects into specific action steps; include preparation tasks in the breakdown.
- Visualization: Plan what to do, then imagine yourself doing it. The more specific and vivid your visualization, the better. See yourself doing the task, and doing it well.
- Ask Yourself Why: While you are visualizing doing the task, see if you can detect what it is about the task that feels odious to you, what uncomfortable feeling you are avoiding. Knowing what's behind the avoidance can help you get past it - for example, address real problems or ignore irrational fears.
- Focus on Long-Term Consequences: Procrastinators have a tendency to focus on short-term pleasure, and shut out awareness of long-term consequences. Remind yourself how panicked and awful you'll feel if the task isn't done, then imagine how good it will feel when the task is finished.
- Avoid Time Bingeing: One reason procrastinators dread starting is that once they start they don't let themselves stop. Plan to work on a task for a defined period of time, then set a timer. When the timer goes off, you're done.
- Use Small Blocks of Time: Procrastinators often have trouble doing tasks in incremental steps, and wait for big blocks of time that never come. When you have small blocks of time, use them to work on the task at hand.
- Avoid Perfectionism: Procrastinators have a tendency to spend more time on a task than it warrants, so tasks that should be quick to do take an agonizingly long time. Notice this tendency and stop yourself. Some things require completion, not perfection.
- Keep a Time Log: Increase your awareness of time by logging what you are doing throughout the day. This is a great diagnostic tool for discovering where your time went, and an excellent way to become better at estimating how long tasks take.
- Develop Routines: To help structure your day and make a habit of things you always need to do, develop routines for what you do when you wake up, regular tasks of your workday, and what you need to do before going to bed.
- Bookend Tasks and Time: Use the Bookending board on the P.A. Web site to check in throughout the day, or at the beginning or end of specific tasks you are dreading. Details are at the top of the Bookending board (www.procrastinators-anonymous.org).