Timothy Pychyl is the author of Ending Procrastination--Right Now! and has this to say about how to get the upper hand on self-sabotaging behaviros to take back control of your career or life!
One of the simplest and most effective solutions is to just get started—anywhere on a task. The moment you think "I'll feel more like doing this later" or "I work better under pressure," recognize that you're just about to procrastinate—to give in to feel good.
Don't think too far ahead. Just aim for a little progress. Research indicates that establishing a low threshold to task engagement fuels motivation and changes perception of the task. You'll find it's not as bad as you thought, and "a task begun is a task half done!"
A good simple task to start with might be updating your resume or putting that near tear sheet into your portfolio. If your resume needs updating, open your document and do it NOW. (You're already sitting at your computer reading this blog, right? Take action and then enjoy the euphoric feeling of knowing it's no longer looming in your future!)
How to transform feeble intentions into effective plans for real action? We need to move past general goal intentions to specific intentions for action: "In situation X, I will do behavior Y to achieve goal Z."
Such predecision to act increases success by shifting the cue for action to the environment. When situation X arises, we don't have to rely on further thought and planning; it's more about responding. Tell yourself exactly when and where you will act.
The solution to distraction lies in recognizing what distracts us and then either deciding to eliminate the menace ("Shut off Facebook while I'm at the computer") or declaring an intention to indulge it at a specific time once some work gets done. Again, research indicates that a little strategic planning helps "pre-empt that which tempts!"
Acting in a timely manner on tasks requires active choice and the exercise of will. Recognize the enemy within and you'll move forward doing what you intended, becoming the person you want to be.
What has been on your to-do list for too long now?