MOTIVATION | If it weren’t for deadlines, a lot of things would not be done.
So, let me guess!
You should be studying right now but instead, you’re here reading this blog post on how you can beat procrastination.
You have lots of tests next week or even an assignment due tomorrow but instead of getting on to work, you are scrolling through Instagram, checking status updates on WhatsApp, watching tons of videos on YouTube, chatting with friends and just doing everything else but studying.
Don’t worry, I’m not here to guilt-trip you. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.
We all suffer from procrastination at one point or the other in our lives.
I suffer(ed) from chronic procrastination to a large extent and I’m not even joking. My mum would always complain about how I would put off every task till last minute. I didn’t just procrastinate studying my books, I would procrastinate simple tasks like, loosening my hair, cooking a meal, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, returning a missed call, etc, telling myself, ‘I’ll do it later. I’ll do it in the next 5 minutes. I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll start once it’s 15 minutes to the time…’ until I end up doing it under tension, pressure and stress.
Imagine! I procrastinated writing this article for about 3 weeks now.
I can’t confidently say I have been able to over come procrastination hundred percent but over time, I have found out ways to suppress it or beat it down when it surfaces.
And that’s why today, I’ll be sharing with you the 5 steps I take to beat procrastination and get most of the work done.
Are you ready?
• identify why you procrastinate;
• get rid of the distractions;
• chunk it down;
• start with the simplest/smallest task;
• reward yourself after each task.
• IDENTIFY WHY YOU PROCRASTINATE:
We all procrastinate for different reasons.
Some procrastinate because they don’t feel the urgency of the task.
Here’s how it works: you have a test next two weeks. It’s very easy to view ‘next two weeks’ as very far from now, so you tell yourself that you’ll start tomorrow and then next tomorrow and then the next day after next tomorrow till you have few days before the test.
Some procrastinate because they feel they work better under pressure and tension. They tend to do nothing until a day or even few hours before the deadline.
Some of us procrastinate because we are afraid of the task. Not necessarily as ‘afraid’ as you would be when you’re in front of a lion but afraid because you’ve skimmed through the note and you have counted the pages and it’s up to 10 and there are lots of calculations in between. You feel there’s a lot to do and it’s overwhelming and you don’t know how to start, so you procrastinate.
Some others procrastinate because they are simply not feeling like it and are waiting till they ‘feel like it’ before they do it.
So, the first step I want you to take is to identify why you procrastinate. Once you have an answer, you can move on to the next point.
• GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS:
Now that you have been able to identify why you procrastinate, it’s time to take the next step.
So, tell me, what do you do when you procrastinate?
Do you find yourself eating instead of working, probably checking updates on the net, scrolling through Instagram and ‘liking’ pictures or checking WhatsApp status updates?
Do you find yourself sleeping or even cleaning your room and just doing everything else but studying?
Whatever it is, you have to get rid of the distractions.
You might have gotten used to your study table that it doesn’t spark any interest in you to study like before. Switch things up. Go to the library or a different place. Go to a friend’s room. Exchange study tables with your roommate.
If it’s your phone (which it is 100% of the times), tell your room mate or friend to keep it with them for a specific time or charge it in a separate room.
You must be delibrate about this. If you’re not determined to get rid of your distractions, then you’re not ready to fight procrastination and you shouldn’t be reading this article in the first place.
• CHUNK IT DOWN:
This is where procrastination is very different from lack of motivation.
When you procrastinate, you know what to do but instead of getting on to doing it, you find yourself pushing the task forward. You kind of magnify the task in your mind and feel like it’s a lot to do, so you’re running away from the task and deliberately looking for distractions in order to avoid the task. But the thing is, no matter how you run, you will still end up doing the task but under undue stress and tension.
So, I advice that you pick up that notebook now, look at the content you have to study and break down the heavy task into smaller chunks.
Instead of telling yourself you’ll study 10 pages of ‘CHE 427’, you can break the 10 pages down and start by skimming the note or just going through it, then you can move on to annotating the note (highlighting the key points), drawing out practice questions from the notebook, memorizing the key point and then practicing some questions.
Write down all these steps in your to-do list or planner and put a small box in front of each of them. Make sure the tasks are looking very simple and specific. The idea here is to make the task look so small and trick your mind into believing the task is not as hard and bulky as it seems. That way, it will be easier for you to start and once you start, you will discover the task was not as hard as it looked initially.
So, I want to assume you’ve chunked your heavy task into smaller chunks, right? Then, you are ready for tip number 4.
• START WITH THE SIMPLEST TASK OR THE SIMPLEST CHUNK OF THE HARDEST TASK:
The idea here is to just get started. The problem with procrastination is getting started and once you can get yourself started, you’ll keep going and end up discovering the task was not worth the hype at all.
So once you’ve chunked that big task of reading about 10 pages of your note into small units, pick the first chunk and tackle it head long.
Give yourself a break.
Pick the next task and tackle it too, then take another break. Pick the next and tackle it. Keep doing that and before you know, you are done with 10 pages.
If you can’t just seem to get started with the first chunk of the hard task, pick the simple task or the task you love and start off with that until you’ve built the momentum to face the harder tasks.
• SET REWARDS FOR EACH GOAL: The thought of having something to look forward to after each study session is really motivational in itself.
Even something as simple as eating something, going for a walk, watching an episode of a series, etc can be the motivation you need to study or do your work.
Just make sure to reward yourself with something you’ll really look forward to.
You have to be very careful so that your rewards don’t become distractions.
Don’t pick anything random to do, make sure that as you’re setting goals and study plans, you’re adding the reward for each task completed.
That way, once you’re done with the task and you’ve rewarded yourself, you can tick it off from your to-do list as well.
Yaaaay! You’ve finally gone through the five steps to beat procrastination.
Now that you know how to beat procrastination, I think it’s best to practice what you’ve learnt.
So, log off social media, put down your smart phone, pause that series you’re watching, pick up your books and get to work immediately.
You’ve read enough. It’s time to stop reading, talking, watching and playing. It’s time for action!
Now, before you run away, I’ll love you to do two things – bookmark this article so that when next procrastination comes knocking at the door, you’ll have something to fall back on.
Next, I would like you to choose one of your friends and send this article to them. Who knows? They might be suffering badly from procrastination and might be in exact need of this. This could go a long way in helping them out.
Now, tell me, why do you procrastinate and what do you do to beat your procrastination habit?
I’ll be looking forward to your comments.
Thank you for reading🧡