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20 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

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As a legal professional, your schedule is hectic and your life is fraught with deadlines. Procrastination is a common habit to combat competing priorities, perfectionistic attitudes, high stress and fears of failure. However, delaying tasks to the last possible minute can invite problems and compromise the quality of your work. Moreover, procrastination can engender stress, guilt and resentment, lead to longer work hours and cause you to miss valuable opportunities. If procrastination is sabotaging your productivity, here are 20 strategies to help you overcome procrastination habits.

1. Create a Schedule

Create a timeline or schedule of tasks to be performed along with their respective deadlines.  A diary, spreadsheet or simple "to do" list may suffice – whatever works best for you.

2. Prioritize Your Projects

Prioritize tasks and projects in order of importance.  Remember to take deadlines and the priorities of clients and your supervisor into account when prioritizing your projects.

3. Set Specific Goals

Set specific goals and create an action plan.   Plan your calendar carefully to ensure that you budget your time properly and don’t over-commit yourself. 

4. Build In Extra Time

Build in extra time to complete a project in case last-minute obstacles arise.  Saving everything for the very last minute invites stress and catastrophe.

5. Delegate Tasks

Delegate tasks if necessary in order to complete projects and meet deadlines. For example, perhaps your secretary can catalogue the trial exhibits so you can concentrate on writing the trial briefs.

6. Track Your Progress

Track your progress as you approach deadlines. Set small goals and make sure you stay on target every step of the way.

7. Break Projects Into Manageable Pieces

Allocate blocks of time to complete daunting projects. Break large projects into smaller, more manageable pieces or tackle the project in stages.

8. Create an Inviting Workspace

Create a peaceful and inviting workspace. Working in a jungle of files and clutter inhibits productivity.

9. Maximize Peak Hours

Perform your most challenging tasks at your peak performance hours.  For example, avoid putting off that 3rd circuit brief until 5:00 a.m. on the day it is due if you are not an early riser.

 

10. Conquer Perfectionism

Don’t strive for perfection, aim for competence and progress.  Tthe urge to edit your brief won’t disappear tomorrow so just get it done today.  

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