DEAR HARRIETTE: I often find myself procrastinating, and the adrenaline rush of completing tasks under pressure, while effective, leaves me with lingering stress. The cycle is taking a toll on my overall well-being. What strategies or techniques can you recommend to help me break this pattern, overcome procrastination and manage the stress associated with last-minute tasks? -- No More Procrastinating
DEAR NO MORE PROCRASTINATING: Making a plan and implementing it can be the antidote for procrastination. Notice that it is a two-step process. Why? Planners can dream up things to do for days, weeks, even years on end, but implementation is key to success. I believe in coming up with ideas for what needs to be done and writing them down. You can start with big ideas. Just remember to break them down into small-enough steps that they can be manageable. I talk about this a lot, but you can set yourself up for success by giving yourself small tasks that you can accomplish in a limited amount of time. When you check off that you have completed a task, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and more energy to move onto the next task. That’s why written lists are so great. You can see what you have promised yourself you will do and what the outcome is.
Since you fall into the trap of doing things at the last minute, give yourself deadlines throughout the day or week when certain responsibilities need to be completed. Space them out well in advance of your final deadline so that you are not rushing to squeeze them all in at the 11th hour. You can do this.