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Procrastination can take over us all. Make us late for an important event, unprepared for a meeting, look irresponsible and unorganized. It’s a bad habit that many of us wish we could fix but have no idea how to begin.

I’ve put together some simple ideas to help you conquer your lingering habits and help you become a more proactive person.

Plan it before you act on it

Start with a written plan of action and keep it simple and straight forward. In order to feel productive, work on the one thing you must get done today. Pick an item that you can complete in ten to fifteen minutes.

By breaking the day up into different manageable sessions for other tasks and by spending time planning it as well as actually doing the task you’ll be ahead of the game. Review your progress at the end of the day, and plan out your events for the next day, but don’t over plan your schedule.

Take small steps

In the beginning don’t put anything on your list that takes more than thirty minutes. If it’s a bigger project, break it up into smaller pieces and list each thing separately. You can tackle each step in the bigger project individually, with breaks in between. Having multiple small projects and checking each one off as you go will help you see the progress and you’ll avoid feeling chained down to one large, overwhelming task or project.

Have a vision

When planning out your day, your tasks should match your values and purposes for that day. A goal for the day will make it much easier to stay focused on the steps to meet and even exceed your goals.

Know when to say enough

Don’t push yourself so far that you’ll get frustrated or bored with the task at hand. If you determine ahead of time how much you can do and plan these pieces into your day it will be easier to set a completion point or an end in sight. You don’t need to do everything perfectly, in fact this can often lead to more procrastination because you get frustrated that the task doesn’t turn out as well as you believe it should have. Aim for progress, for a step towards completion rather than a perfect ending to the task.

Act on it

Start with the worst job, or the one you’re most dreading, first. Once you’ve completed that part, the rest will come easier without as much planning. You can set time limits on tasks you dislike or even alternate between the unpleasant ones and things you enjoy working on.

Don’t interrupt yourself

Interruptions happen. The phone rings, someone stops by your office or house and suddenly your day has left it’s planned course and you can’t get back into the grove. Take steps to prevent as many interruptions as possible by staying aware and noticing when and why the problem occurs.

Motivate yourself

It’s difficult to stay motivated if you haven’t set up a pleasant environment to work in so play some music, let some fresh air in and get to work. Make sure your work space is organized and you have all the tools you need to focus on the task at hand.

Having to run to the office next door to grab something could be a difficult distraction to overcome. If you struggle holding yourself accountable, find someone to track your progress for you in the beginning. Reward yourself as you accomplish your tasks with small treats, drinks or even a quick nap.

A bigger accomplishment means a bigger treat or better reward.

How To Increase Self-Motivation

Whether you want to be better at your job, be a better friend, or you have a specific goal in mind to better yourself, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, becoming a better you takes hard work and motivation.

If you find that your drive to get things done is starting to slide, you will need to increase your self-motivation. The following are some tips for increasing motivation:

Stay Positive

The power of positive thinking is huge. At the same time, negative thoughts and self-doubt also has a powerful effect on your ability to be a better you and reach your goals. Constantly telling yourself that you’ll never lose weight, never stop smoking, or don’t have what it takes to get a promotion is not motivating. Stay positive and know that you will reach your goals, it just takes hard work and a plan. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Set Goals

Setting mini-goals along the way to reach your overall objective or goal is a great way to increase your self-motivation. It makes the task at hand seem more manageable.

Reward Yourself

Keep motivation in yourself high by rewarding yourself when you reach a mini-goal, or when you make progress. This will not only show you that you can achieve things, but that there is something motivating you to help you get there. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, say you’ll reward yourself with a new pair of shoes after you lose 10. Then set another reward for reaching your final goal.

Have Direction

Knowing exactly how you are going to be a better you is important. It’s difficult to stay motivated if you are aimlessly trying to reach a goal. Map out exactly how you are going to reach your goal. For example, if you want to learn how to speak French, write down the steps you will take to reach that-including taking lessons, practicing for a certain amount of time a day, and so forth.

Know The Consequences

While it is important to stay positive, sometimes, knowing the consequences of not reaching a goal can be very motivating as well. For example, if you want to quit smoking, list out and then take a look at the consequences, such as paying for an expensive habit or the possibility of getting cancer. Or, if you want to lose weight, look at the consequences of staying overweight, which can include not being able to wear the swimsuit you wanted, or staying at a higher risk of a heart attack.

Have Deadlines

Giving yourself deadlines creates a sense of urgency and can also increase your self-motivation. Set deadlines for when you want to accomplish certain things. This could be in time for a special event (“I want to lose 20 pounds before next summer” or “I want to learn a new computer program before my next performance review.”) Looming deadlines will help you to stay motivated.

Report To Someone

Being held accountable for what you accomplish can be very motivating, so enlist someone to help you reach your goals. For example, if you want to exercise 4 times a week, find a friend who will encourage you or go with you. Or, if you want to stop smoking, join a support group. Surrounding yourself with positive people who are holding you accountable can be a very good way to increase your self-motivation.

These are just a few ways to increase your self-motivation.

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