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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Everyone procrastinates from time to time. But when putting things off becomes a habit, it can be debilitating and have devastating effects. Clear, concise, and highly usable, The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Overcoming Procrastination, Second Edition, will help anyone who has a hard time getting things done - from the occassional procrastinator to the worst of the worst. This new edition is more streamlined and written to give readers strategies they can apply right away.

Part 1 starts with key insights on why we procrastinate, how our surroundings (and our brains) affect our tendency to put things off, and how simply changing our thinking can be key to changing our bad habits. Part 2 gets more into the nitty gritty of how we can begin to change our behaviors, and gives clear, simple steps so they can quickly banish the clutter, get organized, and get things done. Part 3 moves into more strategic thinking with specialized strategies for overcoming procrastination at work, in school, in relationships, and with everyday matters (even in a reader's digital life).

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Part 1: The Whats, Whys, and Woes of Procrastination
    1. 1 Why We Procrastinate and Why It’s a Problem
      1. The Procrastination Epidemic—You’re Not Alone!
      2. Technology: Timesaver or Timewaster?
      3. How Work Overload Fuels Procrastination
      4. How Life at Home Leads to Procrastination
      5. What Procrastination Is
      6. Things We Procrastinate About
      7. Why We Love to Hate Procrastination
      8. When Procrastination Is a Good Thing
      9. The Cost of Procrastination
    2. 2 The Environmental Causes of Procrastination
      1. I Think, Therefore I Do—or Do I?
      2. Environmental Hazards
      3. Peer Pressure and Procrastination
      4. The Culture of Procrastination
      5. The Power of Discomfort: How Places Lead to Procrastination
      6. How a Cluttered Life Holds You Back
        1. The Leaning Tower of Paper
        2. Electronic Clutter
        3. The Collector’s Curse
        4. Commitment Overload
      7. So Is It Really Not My Fault?
    3. 3 The Internal Causes of Procrastination
      1. Understanding the Psychology of Action
      2. How Thinking Too Much Leads to Procrastination
      3. How Not Thinking Enough Leads to Procrastination
      4. What’s Causing Your Procrastination?
      5. Fears That Hold You Back
        1. Fear of Failure
        2. Fear of Being Judged
        3. Fear of Success
      6. When Perfection Is Part of the Problem
      7. How Mind Games Slow Us Down
        1. Feeling Overwhelmed
        2. This Is So Frustrating!
        3. The Adrenaline Rush
        4. I’m So Bored
        5. You Want Me to Do What?!
      8. When a More Serious Issue Might Be to Blame
      9. Medical Reasons for Procrastination
      10. You’re Not a Bad Person
      11. Don’t Worry, There Is Hope
    4. 4 Why You’ve Failed in the Past
      1. Why Your Past Efforts Have Failed
      2. Why Change Is So Darn Hard
      3. Understanding the Seven Stages of Change
      4. How Likely Are You to Change?
      5. Creating an Amateur Support Team
      6. Getting Support from the Pros
        1. Mental Health Professionals
        2. Career Development Professionals
        3. Personal and Life Coaches
        4. Professional Organizers
        5. Questions to Ask When Seeking Professional Help
  8. Part 2: The Path to Becoming an Ex-Procrastinator
    1. 5 It’s About Time—Finding, Using, and Enjoying It
      1. Why You Can’t (and Shouldn’t Want to) Manage Time
      2. Don’t Be Bullied by Time
      3. Who Controls Your Time?
      4. Making Peace with Time
      5. How Not to Be Handcuffed to Your Calendar
      6. Stop Using the “But I Just Can’t Find the Time” Excuse
      7. Getting Your Priorities Straight
      8. Banish the “It’s Not the Right Time to Do This” Excuse
      9. Creating the Illusion of More Time
      10. Why To-Do Lists Don’t Get Done— and What You Can Do
      11. The Beauty of Routine
      12. The Gentle Art of Scheduling
      13. Balancing Acts
        1. Why It’s Hard to Say No
        2. How to Say No
    2. 6 Decluttering and Organizing
      1. Assessing Your Clutter Crisis
      2. How to Stop Rationalizing Your Clutter Habit
      3. Where Your Attachment to Stuff Comes From
        1. Guilt
        2. Value
        3. Sentimentality
        4. Time-Capsule Syndrome
        5. Practicality
        6. Hopes and Dreams
        7. Identity
      4. Getting Rid of Stuff
      5. A Crash Course in Getting Organized
    3. 7 Make Better Decisions to Take Better Action
      1. Why You Just Can’t Decide
        1. Too Many Choices and Too Much Information
        2. Not Enough Choices, Time, or Money
        3. Making Decisions Harder Than They Need to Be
        4. Decisions Strike at the Core of Who We Are
      2. Making Major-League Decisions
      3. Making Minor-League Decisions
      4. The Eight Decision-Making Styles
        1. Loner or Pollster?
        2. Forecaster or Bean-Counter?
        3. Analyst or Feeler?
        4. Hunter-Gatherer or Settler?
      5. What’s Your Decision-Making Style?
      6. Ten Steps to Decision-Making Like a Pro
      7. Don’t Sweat It
    4. 8 The Prescription for Overcoming Procrastination
      1. The Stop, Look, and Listen Solution
      2. Just Push Pause—Using the “Stop” Part of the Solution
      3. Look Around You—Using the “Look” Part of the Solution
      4. Listen Carefully—Using the “Listen” Part of the Solution
      5. Ten Surefire Strategies for Getting Anything Done
        1. Strategy 1: Get Fired Up
        2. Strategy 2: Get Organized
        3. Strategy 3: Prioritize
        4. Strategy 4: Find Freedom in Routine
        5. Strategy 5: Get Comfortable
        6. Strategy 6: Get Connected to People and Information
        7. Strategy 7: Use Positive Self-Talk
        8. Strategy 8: Focus on Do Dates, not Due Dates
        9. Strategy 9: Use the Chip-Away Technique
        10. Strategy 10: Play Trick or Treat
      6. See? It’s Not So Hard!
  9. Part 3: Let’s Get It Done (Already)
    1. 9 Procrastination in Your Home Life
      1. Are You a Neatnik, Clean Freak, or Slob?
      2. Why We Put Off Household Chores
      3. Turn Home Squalid Home into Home Sweet Home
      4. Dealing with Laundry, Trash, and Other Dirty Words
        1. Laundry
        2. Dry Cleaning
        3. Trash
      5. This Old House
      6. Yard Work
    2. 10 Procrastination in Your Family and Social Life
      1. Marriage, American Style
      2. Saying “I Do,” Not “I’ll Do It Later”
      3. Putting Off the Pitter-Patter
      4. Get a Life—Socially Speaking
      5. Saying I Don’t
    3. 11 Procrastination in Everyday Life Matters
      1. Why New Year’s Resolutions Lose Their Resolve
      2. How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
      3. Making Health-Care Appointments
      4. Money Matters We Put Off and Why It Matters
        1. Why We Procrastinate About Money Matters
        2. What to Do About Your Financial Procrastination
        3. Making Taxes Less Taxing
      5. Dealing with the Reality of Mortality
    4. 12 Procrastination at Work and School
      1. A Career in Procrastination
      2. Why Careers Stagnate
      3. Get a Job (and Love It)
        1. Too Comfortable to Leave, Too Miserable to Stay
        2. Fishing with a Net
        3. No Target to Hit
        4. Job-Hunting Mind Games
      4. Getting Ahead in Your Career and Job
      5. Academia: A Procrastination Breeding Ground
        1. Procrastination in High School
        2. Procrastination in College
        3. Procrastination in Graduate School
      6. Returning to School Before the Twelfth of Never
    5. 13 Procrastination in Your Tech Life
      1. Understanding Technology Procrastination Through Statistics
        1. Internet Usage Statistics
        2. Statistics on Mobile Phones and Tablet Devices
        3. Games, Shopping, and Other Diversions by the Numbers
      2. Key Changes to Make in Your Tech Life to Start Reining It In
        1. Keep Electronic Clutter at Bay
        2. Avoid Technology Distractions
        3. Manage Your Time Online and Onscreen
      3. Strategies for Taming Email and Reclaiming Your Inbox
    6. 14 Making Procrastination a Thing of the Past
      1. Seven Simple Rules for Putting Off Procrastination
      2. Make Balance a Priority
      3. Value Your Priorities and Prioritize Your Values
      4. Your Procrastinator’s Oath of Effectiveness
      5. It’s Up to You
  10. Index
  11. About the Author