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By Kristin Hiemstra A shameless believer of human potential, Kristin is as dynamic and energetic about career issues as a nice person can be. She combines real world knowledge from her many years of hiring experience in Washington, DC with a decade of college admissions experience.

Beating Procrastination

By Kristin Hiemstra Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:59 pm

I’m one of those people who is really good at getting inconsequential crap done especially when the important stuff is looming out there. Need to write an article on college admissions? Well, I absolutely must go buy a mustard yellow jacket like the one I saw on Pinterest. It will take hours to find one…and of course, it must be on sale which means it is an all day expedition. Need to sign up for a retirement plan? Well the kitchen must be cleaned ahead of time because no one can think about money when the kitchen is a mess. Need to write a blog? Well it must be done in a leisure suit so that I am comfortable – I’m pretty sure the best ones are on Amazon.com so the shopping experience can begin immediately.

I’m not sure exactly when this demon of procrastination/rationalization took over my psyche. My guess is in college. It was probably brought about when I smoked cigarettes because every smoker knows you never start something big until after you’ve had a smoke. Even if you’ve never smoked you can understand the benefits of 5 minutes of deep breathing before starting something. Of course nothing goes better with a smoke than a beer or glass of wine and we all know where that road leads. It’s a wonder I graduated.

At this point in my life I’ve managed to completely boot the drinking/smoking habit or, more honestly, replace it with the potato chip/chocolate habit thereby buying myself a few more years of life if I manage to avoid diabetes. But this procrastination habit has got to go! I want a life worth living. Not one that I’ve put off until tomorrow. So here is how I am going to change:

1. I am going to make a list of everything I need to get done the night before. Since I will forget to do this on my own, I am going to set my phone alarm and the alarm sound is going to be O.A.T.’s Crazy Game of Poker. Yes, I downloaded iOS7 on my iPhone and I LOVE the feature where instead of listening to a boring harp strum you get to pick your own music. Total score Apple.

2. I’m going to pick something really big to inspire me. For example, I always procrastinated when it came to cleaning my house. Back when my neighborhood held weekly ‘pizza and movie’ nights I would volunteer to host so that I had to clean up. I’m far too vain to let people think I would live in a messy house – even though I do. Now I just need to find what other of the 7 deadly sins I can use to motivate myself. Envy is looking pretty promising.

3. I’m going to use affirmations. Yes, I’m going to start telling myself how awesome I will be once I get things done. “I am awesomely productive.” “I love how I feel about myself when I get things done right away.” And it those don’t work I’m going straight for the reward system. One blog = one bowl of ice cream. Two blogs = ice cream with chocolate chips. Somehow I get the feeling that I need to start thinking of rewards and I better figure out some that don’t involve food….

Perhaps you too have struggled with this demon and have your own strategies to share. Let’s hear ‘em.

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