How to—wait, just got a notification—not Procrastinate

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by Max Meyer, senior writing coach

I am a master of procrastination, skilled in the art of putting off an important task until I have done everything but that most important thing. Procrastination: the scourge that all of us have probably fallen victim to at some point or another. We know it’s coming, we want to stop it, but we simply can’t. A return to our excuse-making ways often follows our pledges to change our ways.

Due to the prevalence of this problem, I figured I’d draw from my own experiences and try to provide some tips on how to deal with procrastination. 

But first, here are a couple reasons behind our procrastination habits. One reason for procrastination may be that a task can seem daunting. Be it a ten page English paper that you haven’t started, fixing the leaky bathroom faucet, or something else, the sheer magnitude of a project can make it seem unapproachable. Another reason could be one’s inability to stay concentrated for long periods of time. You might figure that since you’ll get distracted soon enough, it might not be worth it to even start. You might have different reasons for procrastination; the reasons above are just a couple of common ones.

Okay, I guess I should tell you about those tips I mentioned earlier.

I don’t remember where I originally saw this, but in my experience, it can be very helpful to get everything you need set up before you begin your work, even if you don’t intend to do it at that minute. It’s been said that getting started is half the effort, so preparing for the task at hand can actually seem to get you halfway there and in turn, make you more likely to start the task itself.  Clear off your desk, open the document on your computer, and read the instructions. You might find yourself wanting to start the assignment! 

Another strategy is to block off your working period into alternating work and break sections. Devoting half an hour of your time to working and then taking a ten minute break can make a long stretch of time seem more manageable. If you’re so inclined you could instead give yourself a break once you finish a certain portion of the task, which might alleviate some of the dauntingness of the task. Give your mind a break by exercising, playing an instrument, or anything else that helps you relax.

One final, crucial tip which I can’t emphasize enough: get rid of distractions! Leave your phone in another room. Close your shades so you don’t get entranced by the neighbor’s dog outside. Less distractions leads to more focus and more completed work.

But hey, procrastination isn’t the end of the world. It’s natural. If you have to procrastinate, at least try to be productive. Go outside and shoot some hoops. Do some less important work. Procrastinating doesn’t have to be all bad.

Well, I’ve got to finish some French homework that’s due today. I hope you’ve found these tips on procrastination helpful and will make use of them! 

One thought on “How to—wait, just got a notification—not Procrastinate

  1. I’m a huge believer in your advice to get everything set to go as a sort of warm up to a task. I like to step it up another notch and finish a work session by making a clear plan for what I will do next when I sit down to work. It makes me less anxious and less likely to avoid if I already know exactly what to do first.

    Like

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