Curing Last-Minute-itis

Try these 3 strategies to motivate dawdlers.
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Whether it's your daughter's last-minute book report or your husband's eleventh-hour gift shopping, when the people you love procrastinate, your life can become chaotic. Frank J. Bruno, Ph.D., author of Stop Procrastinating (Arco, 1997), explains how to handle the dawdlers in your family without reshuffling your schedule or flying off the handle.

  • Avoid labels and nagging. Calling your mate absentminded or your child disorganized doesn't accomplish anything, says Bruno. Doing so might also create a self-fulfilling prophecy. "Nag a person long enough, and he or she may delay twice as often just to spite you."
  • Give them the facts. If a procrastinator's actions adversely affect you -- say, your credit card is refused because your husband forgot to mail the check -- describe the specific repercussions. Instead of "You never pay the bills on time," say, "The card was refused because the bill is past due."
  • Don't forget to say thanks. When your child completes his homework on time, or your spouse runs errands without being reminded, thank him. Don't admonish, "See, I told you you'd feel better getting this done in advance."


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