We’ve all done it: held a task hostage on our to-do list for weeks on end while we postponed tackling it for one reason or another. It’s normal from time to time, but chronic procrastination can lead to guilt and stress cycles that can negatively impact our health (especially if it’s preventive health “to-dos” we put off). Research has linked procrastination to stress-related health problems such as headaches, digestive issues, colds and flus, and insomnia.

But with the new year comes new opportunity to break the cycle and rediscover time in our days to spend in more productive ways. Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) invited time management expert Lorena Prime to share how incorporating a few simple tips can help us do just that:

-Call it by its name. Recognize procrastination in any tasks you keep putting off—and any associated guilt you have about it.

-Take two. Two minutes, that is—seize the moment by immediately completing any home or office tasks that take under two minutes.

-Practice the buddy system. Choose someone to check in with regularly on goals and progress toward them.

-Try baby steps. Break more daunting tasks into incremental, attainable steps.

With some mindfulness, you can stop procrastinating and reach new levels of productivity (starting now). Find more tips here.

Topics: patient safety, community, Patient Experience

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