How to NOT procrastinate... like a pro!
By Craig Gambell
So we've all done it. Don't deny it, procrastination affects us all. But rest assured, as long as you don't procrastinate whilst reading this article, then I will attempt to cure you! And if you're meant to be working whilst reading this... then consider it a 'productive procrastination'...
Being a uni student means that, like you, I have a bunch of work to do, and little time to do it in. The tight student deadlines seem tight when they are the next day... but when the brief for the project was set 2 months ago, can I blame anyone other than myself? Of course! Well maybe not. At the beginning of my first year, I found myself constantly offsetting the important tasks in favour of other activities. Going out for a drink certainly sounds more appealing than writing an essay. But I quickly found that going out for a drink would end up with me being hungover the following day. And trying to write with a hangover is not easy.
"For me, the best method is to break things into smaller tasks."
So what appears to be a night out will likely turn into two days of unproductive-ness. So how can you solve this? For me, the best method is to break things into smaller tasks. One of the reasons we procrastinate so much is because we see a task as too big to handle right away. But if we see the task as a series of smaller tasks, ie- an essay becomes a sequence of steps, then it becomes much easier. If you have a checklist of the sub-steps that you're ticking off along the way, you may find that you're more motivated to finish the task.
Motivation is really important when it comes to procrastination. If you don't want to finish a task, then procrastinating is going to be the easiest option at the time. So when you get a task that you don't particularly enjoy, then you should find ways to make it entertaining. And if you really can't make it entertaining, then balance it with something you find fun! Reward yourself for every item you tick off your checklist.
"Reward yourself for every item you tick off your checklist."
Many people recommend disabling Facebook, but i've tried this and I just end up reactivating it or using other websites in the meantime. If you are able to conduct your research or complete your project with out internet, then take your laptop to somewhere inspiring, like a local park, and try to work there. If you can do it with out your laptop, then head to your university library, grab the books you need and prepare to be there all night!!
I procrastinate mostly in the evenings, meaning that i lose track of time and end up watching youtube videos until stupid o'clock. This then means I get less sleep, leading to tiredness the following day, which is yet another excuse to avoid working. One thing i've recently found, in order to prevent these accidental late nights, is a program called 'Flux'. It changes the colour temperature of your screen from blue to orange (similar to your lightbulbs indoors). The normal blue hue emitting from the screen keeps you and I awake for longer. So use flux on the nights where you don't plan on studying.
"In my experience, going for a walk or something physical helps to clear the mind, allowing you focus when you get home."
I find that I procrastinate the most on the days that I'm not really doing anything else. It's mainly out of boredom really. In my experience, going for a walk or something physical helps to clear the mind, allowing you focus when you get home.
If you got to the end of the article with out switching tabs then congratulations! Now use your newly acquired knowledge and finish that project that you have been putting off!!
Got any words of wisdom on how to stay on track? Why not get in touch via social media and share your procrastination tips Scape?