HOW TO COMBAT PROCRASTINATION HABITS!
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You may find that these tips useful if you're still in school but I'm sure you will be able to find little bits and pieces that you can take away and adjust to fit your life!
I am no stranger to procrastination. In fact, you might consider us good friends who I visit on occasion. But over the years I have found different ways to reduce my procrastinating ways! This has proved to be especially effective for class assignments, midterm/final projects, or any sort of presentation.
1. If you are given an assignment or project in advance, work on it a little bit each day, even if it's just 20 minutes.
Spreading out my work over many days has seemed to work the best for me. If I'm assigned a midterm or final project two weeks in advance, I'd probably work on it every other day for at least 30 minutes until it's completed. But if it's still not completed, I won't be stressing and scrambling to get it finished because I would have already had a good chunk of it done already. Plus, that's why teachers will assign such big projects in advance!
2. Carve out a couple hours of your day to focus on your work.
I'm definitely guilty of getting distracted while studying and doing homework by my phone, finding a snack, or finding a show to put on in the background to fill the awkward silence. But by trying to limit all these different distractions keeping me from my work, I've found that time goes by faster and my productivity level is off the charts. If you're someone who needs to listen to music while working then by all means, go right ahead. Personally, I have to be in the right kind of mood to listen to music and work at the same time. I usually prefer it to be dead silent.
3. Focus on one thing at a time.
There are probably a million things on your to-do list today but when it comes to projects that have a certain deadline, it's best to focus on that one project at a time. This will also reduce the overall amount of half-done projects on your to-do list. Starting a new project while you're in the middle of another one can definitely cause you to abandon that first assignment altogether which is never ideal. For anybody.
4. Set time goals for yourself.
I'm a very competitive person. Setting time goals throughout my workday forces me to compete against the clock and myself. If you don't have that free of a day to set time goals, you can all set date goals. You may want to break out your calendar for those date goals.
If you start working on an essay at 1pm, challenge yourself to have an introduction and one paragraph written in the next 30 minutes. If you don't happen to meet that time goal, there aren't any repercussions because you're the only one in this game! Just start over and set a new time goal. You may or may not find this an entertaining way to get work done while not taking it too seriously at the same time.
5. Make lists.
Little lists, big lists, daily lists, weekly lists, grocery lists, any type of list that can be made, you can count on me to have made one before. Lists are how I keep myself on track with everything I need to do. As my friends know, I'll make multiple lists throughout the day. I'll make a to-do for general tasks I need to complete throughout the day such as doing the dishes or taking out the trash. I will also make a list for schoolwork of assignments that are of higher importance due to its approaching due date. In addition to this, I'll also set reminders for myself on my phone because I'm a very forgetful person and I can use all the help I can get. Plus, it's free so why not utilize it?
Here's an example of a list that I made while writing an essay for a final:
Introduction and overview of business
Introduction of business owner
The development of the business - turning an idea into a reality
Challenges faced in the business
Rewarding aspects of owning a small business
Impact of small business on a local community
Small local businesses vs. Large Chain stores
Future plans for the business
Advice for those who wish to follow in the same career path
What I learned from this interview
Every bullet on the list above represents a new paragraph and what I need to talk about in that paragraph (basically just an outline of the essay but in list form).
The very act of checking something off of my list further motivates me to complete the next task so I can check that one off and the cycle goes on. I find it very rewarding to make those little check marks and know that I'm making some sort of progress on whatever it is that I'm working on.
6. Find a study buddy.
Sometimes working alongside a friend can help you be more productive. That depends on who your study buddy is though. If it's a close friend who is notorious for being distracting then maybe they're not the right person to be working with. The ideal study buddy is most likely a classmate, probably someone you aren't that close to but are friendly enough.
Make a deal with them. Have them hold you accountable for all the work that you need to get done during that study session and vice versa.
7. Reward yourself.
This one's completely up to you.
But... I'll suggest a couple ways you can reward yourself!
Reward yourself with your favorite food or snacks whenever you complete your task
Indulge in your guilty pleasure(s)
Reward yourself with a nap
8. Find a location where you know you work the best in.
You've really got to know yourself for this one. While studying with friends and doing homework at a cute cafe down the block seems like a delightful idea, I personally can't be one of those people and trust me I've tried.
I wish I were one of those cool girls typing away diligently on her laptop in the corner of a cafe but that isn't going to happen. I know I'll get distracted by my friend or I'll be the one distracting my friend and neither of us will get any work done that day. I've found the best place for me to work is at my desk in my apartment. Alone. Preferably dead silent.
You just gotta know what kind of person you are and what works for you!
9. If possible, create a daily routine.
This one might not work for everybody but if it's possible for you to create a daily routine, I highly recommend that you do! You can create set time for specific times throughout the day. For example, every day you have an 8am class and usually return home by 4pm. You can set a time for yourself to wind down before you have to tackle any homework or projects.
Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit. Perhaps you'll be able to stick with it long enough for it to become a new (and very productive) habit!
10. Figure out why you procrastinate in the first place.
Get to the root of the problem so you can face it head on and fix whatever you need to in order to overcome being a chronic procrastinator. My problem was that I overestimate myself. I really do give myself way too much credit and my way out of that is to try to observe everything from a realistic view. I can most definitely write a 10 page essay that's due tomorrow but how good will that paper actually be?