Who here has ever had those moments where your teacher assigns a 6 paged paper to be done in 3 weeks? All of you guys? Yeah, I’m no Doctor (not yet anyways) but I think you’re diagnosed with chronic procrastination (*gasp*). Anyways, so in the beginning you’re all confident and had this goal of being the over achiever and said “Hey! You know what? I’m going to get this done in 1 week instead.” So then you go on your laptop, open up Word and started typing out a couple of sentences. Then you got tired and went on Facebook for 2 minutes which turned into 2 hours then Tumblr came along knocking on your door so you invited him in and of course your favourite show came on. And that blinking cursor on Word is forgotten… This continues on for the next two weeks and then you realized that the paper is due in 5 days and started pulling off all nighters to just get the whole 6 paged paper done. Then you hand it into your teacher and you promise yourself that you won’t ever procrastinate ever again… Until the next assignment comes then the cycle restarts all over again.
1) Breakdown your work into small little bits: I don’t mean that you should take your papers and shred them to pieces but just make sure that when you’re working that you focus on one step at a time instead of simultaneously working on multiple steps. For instance, if you’re working on a research paper/essay do the following steps one by one- (1) Research (2) Deciding on the topic (3) outline (4) thesis (5) rough draft (6) good copy. When you take little nibbles of your work (don’t actually eat it, I’m pretty sure that excuse will land in you in a place worst than detention), it makes you think that the big assignment is actually just a bunch of small little tasks.
2) Change your environment: The term workplace refers to a place where you’re able to do work efficiently not just work and get nothing done. I want you to get up and look at your workspace (just don’t forget to come back). Are you back? Good. Now let me guess, you had a hard time trying to come back because of all of the distracting things. Yeah, it’s time to get rid of those distractions by revamping your workspace where it’s noise free, has a lot of light and comfortable (but not too comfortable; you really don’t want sleep knowing that your assignment is due the following day).
3) Create a timeline with specific deadlines: This is an extension of the first step mentioned above but, if you give those tiny little tasks a deadline, it actually has a profound effect by keeping you motivated to get things done. Just make sure that you get to actually follow that timeline and not just leave it to the side. Unless if you like working without knowing when to stop or not (if you do then the only Dead-line here is you when you get a zero on your assignment or the dead straight-line of a heart monitor).
4) Get a restraining order on those procrastinating thugs: The screen in front of you has a lot of traps that will get you procrastinating so I suggest hat you disable any automatic notifications. This also means to close any tabs that has a social networking site like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. (If you have any of those or anything similar close them down right now, I mean it; you’ll thank you later).
5) Be friends with those who work hard: Use this to your advantage! If you have a partner for a class project or presentation, picking someone who works hard can inspire you to work hard as well (it rubs off!) and working with people whose only goal is to get things done will limit distractions like useless conversations that does nothing but guarantee you a failing F- on your report card.
6) Remember to Zen but not Zzzzzz: Keep things balanced! Don’t forget to feed yourself and get relaxation time. When your mind is healthy then your work effort will be just as healthy. Exercising is a great stress reliever, trust me (it also keeps down freshman 15).
Now that you know the 6 practical ways to stop procrastination, get to it! Oh, and if you’re reading this to procrastinate now you know. I also have a video for you on how to stop procrastinating: