Procrastination is the bane of almost everyone's existence. It detracts from productivity, creates unneeded stress, and can lead to missed deadlines. It's just bad all around. However, not many people actually know the cause of procrastination or how to really work against it. But there is a one step solution that will work for everyone struggling with procrastination.


The common misconception is that procrastination is a sign of laziness or disorganization. That's not quite true. Procrastinating doesn't mean you're less productive than your coworkers, although that can be the effect. Procrastination is simply a sign of seeking instant gratification. Would you rather start on that report or watch a cute cat video? In the moment, that choice is pretty simple. Cats are cute and much less boring than typing up a report. You might be aware that starting on the report is better in the long run, but in that second, it is much, much easier to open YouTube.

Because procrastination hinges on instant gratification, people of all kinds can suffer from it. It's not just lazy or unfocused people who fall prey to it. Anyone who would rather watch an adorable dog video than do work can end up procrastinating. But the good news is: there is a simple solution. Just start.

The fastest and most effective way to overcome the procrastination hurdle is to just start working. Give yourself five minutes to get started. After those five minutes, you can take a break and watch all the adorable animal videos you want. But most likely, you'll probably end up finishing whatever you're working on before going back to YouTube.

Simply starting your work will push you past the procrastination barrier. Once you have begun, you'll probably see that the assignment isn't quite as complicated or involved as you imagined it would be. The stress over the project goes away and you can just focus on the work. And if you find it is more involved and complicated, you have time to compose a plan of attack — rather than scrambling at the last minute. Giving yourself even just five minutes to get started creates a psychological chain reaction that pushes you to finish the job.

So next time you find yourself procrastinating, close out of your web browser and open your work. Suck it up for five minutes and you'll probably have that assignment finished in no time.

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NBC

Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.