DO IT NOW OR PUT IT OFF?


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Two great ideas which are easy to remember when joined together–

The first is about doing something you know you should do, need to do, or sort of want to do, but keep putting off. Tell yourself to do it now. Tell yourself  you will only spend 10 or 15 minutes (your choice) doing it. Then you’ll stop and do 10-15 minutes again tomorrow, if you’re not finished in that timeframe, and other tomorrows until it’s all done. This works for a lot of people, especially if you make your future self  do it at the same time every day. Often, people who try this go for more than the time they decided on, even finishing the whole project, or at least making a huge dent in it. And that can spur them on to finish it totally.

The second idea is about putting it off for later. Use this technique when you want to quit a bad habit, like eating too much, incessantly playing computer games, smoking, etc.

When the desire hits, tell yourself  you’ll do it later. If you keep putting it off until you fall asleep that night, do that for twenty-one days (the number of consecutive days researchers have found it usually takes to break a bad habit–can’t skip a day or you’ll have to start counting all over again), the habit will most likely disappear. Even if it isn’t totally gone, you may have cut way back on how often you do it.

Or here’s a thought. Combine the two. Put off the bad habit by going to work on that project for 10-15 minutes. Hopefully, the lure of the bad habit will have lessened enough by that time so you can go on to do more productive things, or just chill out knowing you’re beginning to beat two bad habits, the putting things off, and your particular unwanted behavior. Win-win!

If you try this, I’d love to know how it works for you. Comments are always welcome here!


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