Not sure where to begin in stopping chronic procrastination
This is my first post in PA and I am just now realizing how much this issue is really hitting me big time. I'm just now realizing the scope of how huge this issue is for me and I don't know what to do to be honest. This is a huge change we're talking about from my weight, my job, and even getting my writing career back on track so I can at least get my ideas out again.
I feel like this is disablitating to me because at 40 I want more to my life than what I am doing. I drive for a living and I know I can make more, do more, and be more. My putting things off is really putting a hindrance to my dreams and goals in life.
Where does one begin? This is the question which hinders me and bothers me big time.
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Start from where you are
I know it sounds like a cliche, but you start from wherever you are. You have to start somewhere, and where you are is as good a place as any. Don't wait until something in particular happens, or until you do something, or even a particular day of the week -- just start.
Start small. As you say, procrastination can be a huge issue. Work your way into it in pieces, instead of trying to tackle all of procrastination's effects at once. Procrastination is a behavior, and it has become a habit for a lot of us. Changing habits isn't easy, but it works much better if we try to change just one at a time.
Keep starting. We all have good days and bad days, but persistence pays off. If you have a bad day, don't think that you've wasted your attempts or ruined the progress you've made. Just pick yourself up and start again -- the next step is always waiting for you.
The recommendations of "Getting Things Done" and "First Things First" are good ones. More to the point of procrastination, you may want to look into "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore and "The Procrastinator's Handbook" by Rita Emmett. Thinking more about how and why you procrastinate can lead you toward ways to change your habits and get more done.
I think that Slider's right... you've already begun. You know that procrastination is getting in the way of what you want to accomplish and you've started looking for ways to get past it. There are a lot of good ideas and good support on this board. I would recommend bookending here as a way to start. Try not to get overwhelmed by what you want to accomplish... just start by looking for the littlest easiest steps you can take in the direction you want to go.
In addition to the support here, I've found that reading books about procrastination, time management, motivation, etc can be helpful. Just be aware that they help but none of them will magically cure you or do the work for you. Most of them will come from a slightly different point of view from your own, so read with an open mind and pull out the tidbits that work for you. For example, I find that a lot of these books are written from the standpoint of managers, entrepeneurs or business executives. Not exactly what I want to be when I grow up but they still have some good ideas...
A number of people have found that "Getting Things Done" by David Allen is a help. It offers some concrete steps you can follow to get yourself going. I've I haven't read this other one yet but I think the book "First Things First" by Stephen Covey has been recommended... more in the direction of prioritizing what you want to get out of life and moving in that direction.
All this can get a bit overwhelming so take your time with it and be prepared to start and stop a few times. Be sure to give yourself some breaks and don't try to do it all at once (see the article on Time-bingeing which is a great insight).
You have already begun
It may not feel like much, but you have named your problem and you have sought out a way to deal with it. You have made your first post here, too! You have found a community of people who will not judge you yet will push you sometimes when needed. Read about bookending, and begin! If you haven't already, post in today's forum and record what you'd like to accomplish today. It works! There's lots of other good information here, too, that can help overcome some of the blocks and resistence.