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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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