Are you a world-class procrastinator? Do you know what you need to do but seem to always find something else to do that’s not as important? Are you often so overwhelmed by your responsibilities that you can’t seem to get started meeting them?

If you often put things off and then feel guilty for doing so, now is the time to figure out why and learn how to make positive changes.

The reason why is simple: rebellion. You don’t like to be told what to do and instantly become resistant to matters in which you feel you have no choice. Here are a few tips for overcoming this trait and becoming more productive:

Change the language you use.

Instead of using terms like need to, must, should, or have to, focus on the end result with statements like “I’ll have this finished before lunch” or “I’m going to enjoy some quiet reading time once I have this done.” My friend who is studying to become an architect, started using these tips, and he feels he’s a lot more productive.

When you focus on the end result instead of the responsibility or the effort it will take to get there, it is much easier to get started. After all, when you are going on a great beach vacation, you don’t put it off because you know you have to pack, make travel arrangements, and secure things at home. Instead, your eye is on the vacation itself, so you complete all necessary tasks and arrangements without hesitation.

It’s great to finish.

On the same note, instead of focusing on the work ahead of you, think of how great you will feel when it is done. Keep a positive eye on the finished result, you will find it incredibly easy to do what you need to do to get there. Once your goal is completed, you will enjoy a feeling of achievement and freedom that will motivate you to move on to completion of the next task.

Do you have a legitimate excuse?

The one exception that is important to remember is that you may have a valid reason for procrastinating. Does the task you are avoiding conflict in some way with your beliefs or values? If it does, you may be avoiding it because you are subconsciously trying to preserve your sense of self. If that is the case, carefully think over your options and see if there is any way to compromise without sacrificing your values.

You may also be in a situation in which you have decided that something you are supposed to do will be a bad idea in the long run. If so, once again try to find alternative routes to solve the situation in a way that will allow you to stop procrastinating without doing anything you will regret later on.

While there may often be legitimate reasons for avoiding a responsibility, procrastination is never the answer. Try to figure out your reasons for putting things off so you can either accomplish your task or at least find an alternative route to solving your problems. You will feel much more accomplished and lead a happier life.

About the author: Jenna N. is a writer who loves to write about…everything.

Photo credit: Bob Cotter