I heard an interview today with Harvard lecturer Robert Pozen, at http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-professor-robert-pozen-on-productivity-2012-10.
The whole video is worth watching. Pozen gives advice about identifying goals and priorities, setting up your day to spend the most time on your highest priority goals, how to avoid being by overwhelmed by email, and how to cut back on meetings and make the meetings you have efficient.
But his piece of advice that most stood out for me was how to overcome procrastination. He said that most procrastinators will tell you that they can’t get started until the deadline is very close. Pozen said that his answer to them is to give yourself a lot more deadlines! These interim deadlines will keep you on task and on track. He also recommended that if you need the deadlines to be “real” for you to meet them, make them real by telling other people (a supervisor, a colleague, etc.) about them. The fact that they are expecting you to produce work product on a certain day will keep you accountable.
I fully agree with the approach of setting more deadlines to help you overcome procrastination and transform an otherwise overwhelming project into manageable pieces.