Checklist: What makes you procrastinate?

Guest post - Filed under Getting to know yourself, Insights, Reaching your goals, Tools for success

Procrastination trigger checklist

This checklist by Dr María Machón includes typical triggers for procrastination, along with possible solutions for each trigger.

Checklist: What makes you procrastinate?

Trigger Solution proposal
Tackling a project (consistent on more than one task) instead of a task Ask yourself: What is the immediate next physical action? Example: Brainstorm ideas for your article.
Lack of information Gain clarity about what is missing with a mindmap. (What’s a mindmap? Get some examples here.)
Support needed Analyze your resources and find out if you need support and what kind. Example: Ask an experienced colleague to help you design an interview.
Unrealistic deadline Ask yourself: Is such a deadline necessary? Try to make an honest estimate and, if necessary, collect arguments to speak with your boss. Example: You need an extra day to let a native speaker review your text.
Undefined task Find answers to these questions: what, where, when, with whom, for whom, why? Example: Who will be the audience for your talk? What are their interests?
Fear of failure Imagine the worst case scenario. Design a strategy for this case. See also “Perfectionism.” Example: If I don’t get the grant I am applying for, I will get a job.
Fear of success Imagine the worst case scenario in case of success. Design a strategy for this case too. Example: If I am selected for the conference I will have to speak in front of hundred of experts. Ask experienced colleagues to support you in case you succeed.
Perfectionism Ask yourself: What level of perfection suffices for this stage of the project? Example: Orthography is unimportant in a first draft. It can
be corrected later.
Unappealing task Ask yourself: How can I make this task more appealing? Example: Go to a nice café for reading articles.
Too tired Get some rest, or take a break and get some fresh air.


Creative Commons LicenseThis article by María Machón PhD was first published on November 9, 2010, and this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It has been slightly modified from the original.

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