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Are You a Procrastinator? Find Out How to Change

Published: May 20, 2012

There are more distractions today than ever before, thanks to the influence of the Internet. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are among the online time wasters that lure us from the task at hand. But here's the disconnect: even as the opportunities for procrastination grow, so does the demand for fast, creative, motivated workers.

Alarm ClockSo why do we procrastinate? Some experts, like Joseph Ferrari, associate professor of psychology at Chicago's DePaul University, believe we procrastinate because we were overregulated as children or because we feel anxious about a task. But virtually all authorities on the subject agree that procrastinators are made, not born. Procrastination is a learned behavior that can be changed.

Making a to-do list can be a great first step in managing procrastination. Cross each item off as you complete it.

Knowing what your biggest distractions are can help you avoid them. If you check email every five minutes, try to reduce it to a few times an hour. If you feel compelled to read and reply to every text message you receive, put your phone out of reach.

Look at your work environment. Get rid of clutter, hang or post items that inspire you, and find a spot to keep your to-do list in plain sight. If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, you might want to consider talking to a therapist. Professional advice can help you determine what's at the root of your procrastination and eliminate it.

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