• First, your goals should be somewhat challenging, but achievable for you. It is more satisfying to accomplish a challenge.
  • Second, your goals should be proximal, that is, you can achieve them fairly soon, preferably today or over the next few days.
  • Third, your goals should be specific, that is, you know exactly when you have accomplished them. If you can visualize each step involved in reaching your goals, even better.

  • Stimulus Control

    Stimulus control is a well documented strategy that successfully combats procrastination. What you need is a single place where you do your work and nothing else. For example, many students have a favorite desk at a library.

  • For stimulus control to work best, the office or desk should be free of any signs of easily available temptations or distractions that might pull you away from your task (e.g., no games, no chit-chat, no web-surfing).
  • If you need a break, that is fine, but make sure you have it somewhere else, preferably outside of the workspace itself.
  • If you are unwilling to take the time to get there, acknowledge that you likely don't need the break.

  • Routines

    Routines are often difficult to establish but are worth the effort to foster. Things are much easier to do when we get into the habit of them, whether it is work, exercise, or errands. If you schedule some of those tasks you are presently procrastinating upon so they occur on a regular schedule, they will become easier.

  • Start your routine slowly, something which you can easily commit to. Eventually, like brushing your teeth, it will likely become something you just do, without taking much effort at all.
  • At this point, you might add to your routine again always keeping your overall level of effort at a moderate to low level. Most importantly, when you slip out of your routine -- which is inevitable with sickness or the unexpected -- get back on it as soon as possible.
  • Your routine gets stronger every time you follow it. Likewise, it gets weaker every time you don't.