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Overcoming Procrastination Video

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Stop procrastinating
with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.

James Manktelow: Hello. I'm James Manktelow. I'm CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free career-boosting tools and resources.

Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools. Procrastination is a really common problem – one that disrupts careers and stops people achieving the things they're capable of.  Wouldn't it be great if you could just stop putting things off, and start reaping the rewards of completing tasks on time? At Mind Tools, we believe you can, in just three steps.

JM: As most of us know all too well, procrastination is when we put off tasks that we should be focusing on, usually in favour of doing something that makes us feel more comfortable. There's no doubt it's an obstacle to career success, and the first step to overcoming it is to recognize that you're doing it.

You may already know when you're procrastinating, but just to be sure, prioritize your To-Do List . If you're putting off unimportant tasks, that's just good prioritization . But if you're not tackling the top-priority tasks, you need to take action.

Other tell-tale signs of procrastination are acknowledging what tasks you need to do but not starting them, and agreeing to do minor tasks for other people instead of focusing on your own more important ones.

AC: Once you've recognized that you're procrastinating, you need to move on to step two: work out why you're doing it. This often comes down to one of two reasons: you find the task unpleasant, or you find the task overwhelming. Identifying which of these two reasons applies to your situation will help you move on to the third and final step: Getting over it!

JM: If you find the task unpleasant, think of ways to motivate yourself to get started. This could involve promising yourself a reward, like something nice at lunchtime. Or ask someone else to check up on you. We all know that peer pressure works!

You could also think about what might happen if you don't get this task done. It could have nasty consequences for your career, or your company's bottom line, or both.

AC: If you're procrastinating because you're overwhelmed, you need to take a different approach. Break the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Then start with the easy ones, even if these aren't the most logical first actions. You'll feel that you're achieving things, and this will make the whole project seem less daunting.

Following these steps will help you start to conquer your procrastination, and will lead to higher productivity and a greater sense of achievement.

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Comments (8)
  • Over a month ago bigk wrote
    Hi bigboss

    What is your motivation to do programming?

    Is this because you have good math and you could use this skill with programming?
    There other ways to use math like accountancy or audit and engineering.

    However if you mean the math element is a strength and you want to quickly add extra items to your skill set then math and programming do fit together.

    Programing does need team interaction skills but if you want to fit in the team and have a manager or leader to develop your team skills or improve your own personal or team skills this will need you to use your strengths to develop these skills while doing something that interests you.

    You can develop not only your math skills but use these strengths to develop your other skills although you see these at present as a skill to be developed and not a skill that is immediately available or useable by you in a team setting.
    If this is not one of your motivations or is useable in the work setting, you might want to find a way to become confident and position your skills to improve what you feel about team work.

    A team lead might want to use your math or programming skills but will still want to find ways to use your team interaction skills and use of your valuable team member skills but will want to understand what or why you feel you feel you have no team or self interaction skills to use with the other team members.

    A team needs it's members to interact together, software development is no different although the specialist skills required to develop software might need social and interaction skills rather than just technical skills, to be useful to each other you will need to become more confident about positioning your team member skills to be able to interact with other team members.

    Remember you need to find ways to develop these skills although your main efforts might be towards developing the programming skills to do the job.

    Is there a particular issue you feel you need more development with interacting or is this a question about confidence or the positioning of your technical or social skills?
    If this is the people or team skills you want to develop further while being able to focus mostly on the technical skills needed to develop software, you will need to consider how you position these skills to the work area?

    Happy to offer more help if I can do so...

    Bigk
  • Over a month ago bigboss wrote
    Hi,

    I have done my own SWOT analysis.

    One of my strengths is math, and my weakness is social interaction and copywriting.

    So I think could software building or programming be the "right brand" and "righ career" for me?

    I have (of course) used computer, but I have no experience or education in software building or programming. (And of course this is the reason why I ask this question).
  • Over a month ago Helena wrote
    Hi Zaheer

    You've obviously got a good grasp already of how the results of a SWOT analysis can provide their own solution - as you say:

    How do we use the strengths with the opportunities, strengths to beat the threats etc..?

    A good way to start figuring this out is to use TOWS analysis which will show you how to figure this out. Our article on TOWS analysis is here: http://mindtools.com/community/pages/ar ... STR_89.php

    Best wishes

    Helena
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