Admit it, as you were reading the title of this blog post you considered reading it later. In all fairness, I considered writing this entry later as well, but here we are – so good on the both of us! Here are a few tips that could help us all deal with a common enemy – procrastination.
How many times haven’t you had one of the following thoughts: “Oh that’s fine, I can finish that later, it’s not that urgent” “Just another episode and I’ll start!” “Tomorrow I’m gonna get stuff done, it just doesn’t feel right today” ? I’ll be honest and admit these thoughts frequented my mind more often than I care to admit not too long ago. I am by no means a changed person, enlightened with new revolutionary facts – but I have learned a few tricks that have helped in the struggle versus procrastination. Hopefully they serve you well:
1) Break down the task: Taking on, or knowing you have to deal with a big project or task of some sort can be quite daunting. Examples include big essays for school, revising ahead of an important test, or just a long list of chores that you reeeeeally want to avoid at all costs. What can you do? Break it down into small steps/milestones. For example, set goals for finishing certain parts of an assignment, so that it’s not just one task, but instead several such as: Introduction, outline main points I want to cover in the body, find four sources that support my theory, background check to see what information is already out there. Make sure you enjoy these small accomplishments as well. See them as small confidence boosts/mini celebrations, you’re nearing the end of a task!
2) Eliminate distractions: It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not fun, but I promise you – it will help you get things done. So just go ahead and put that Tamagotchi, picture of your crush, or electronic device that is battling so hard for your attention. Oh and did I mention the deadliest one of the all? Oh yes, you know what I’m talking about. I can see your phone from here, silent mode and out of reach!
3) Bargain with yourself: Working on a task you don’t really want to be working on can be made easier by reminding yourself what awaits when you’re done. You know you will enjoy whatever it is you want to be doing much more when you know that you’re not supposed to be doing something else. What can you do? Strike a bargain with yourself – if you finish this assignment, task, or duty then you’ll treat yourself. Scenario: a new game has been released that you’ve acquired but it is also high time for you to be done with the draft of your essay on Schrödinger’s cat. While the easy way out would be to postpone the assignment for tomorrow, that is a no-go! Instead take care of that essay and remind yourself of the good times that are coming.
4) Make it public: This can be done in several ways; tell your friends, people around you, or simply anyone who cares to listen – you are going to do the following tasks. Now the cat is out of the bag, there’s no going back now! Who likes answering the question: “so did you finish that task?” with “uhh. no.. I didn’t have time.. I was going to.. But…”? That’s right, make it public in order to give yourself that extra push.
5) One task at a time: It is no good trying to take on several tasks at once with the hope of finishing faster, all you will do is compromise the quality of your work. What can you do? Make a clear to-do list, and stick to it. Be sure to make it specific and if possible set yourself a deadline to finish it by.