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Will you read this now or later?

If you read the headline and then put the article aside, you may need to listen to what I’m about to share. One of the greatest thieves of happiness is procrastination.

We’ve all suffered from bouts of procrastination, and probably the worst part about it is how it robs us of time, while simultaneously making us feel guilty.

While occasional procrastination can be remedied, habitual procrastination can erode our mental, spiritual and physical well-being.

As much as we may dread what we are avoiding, delaying a task doesn’t provide any relief, as deep down we know we are just delaying the inevitable.

Procrastination takes many forms. Some stall by mindlessly mining through social media or watching hours of mind-numbing television.

My form of procrastinating is working on something fun that I love to do but I don’t need to accomplish.

Caught in a spiral of distraction, anyone can become victim of compromised decision-making about how time is spent. Yet imagine what life would be like if all those abandoned tasks just got done. Here are some remarkably easy ways to living a more productive lifestyle.

>> Don’t wait until you “feel like it.” Pick up a project that you’ve been putting off and commit to doing it for just 10 minutes. Don’t wait for your mood to match the task (because it never will). Start the task and you will gain momentum.

Progress is satisfying and addictive and you will gain the incentive to finish.

>> Set shorter goals and rewards. We are not machines. As creatures that crave instant gratification, a series of short-term goals and rewards tap into that and make the journey fun.

This strategy works well with kids and teams. A short break to celebrate your progress can help you finally finish an uninspiring task.

>> Prioritize by making a list. To spend time on what is truly important, you first have to define what your priorities are.

If you keep filling your time on tasks that are small but urgent, life becomes about putting out fires rather than expanding horizons. Moving out of survival mode and into a space where you thrive is the key.

Interestingly, research suggests that one of the most effective ways to overcome procrastination is to forgive oneself for procrastinating. Since procrastination is linked to negative feelings, forgiveness can reduce the guilt you feel about procrastinating, and spur you to conquer a task.

And finally, if you are going to procrastinate, own it consciously! Don’t beat yourself up. Use it as a time to recharge.

To feel good about your decision, you can use my favorite affirmation, and say to yourself, “I am inspired to do nothing.”

Reframe your perspective and you will feel better.

Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit

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