5 Ways To Beat Procrastination
When anything (including your laundry or going grocery shopping) is better than doing that thing that needs to be done. Mid-term papers and revision are huge attractors of procrastination tactics, and it doesn’t seem to matter how big or small, hard or easy, a task is, you just can’t get your mind focused. *Sigh*
The good news is that there are some simple ways to break through the barrier and get done what you need to do – so here’s some suggestions for you to try the next time procrastination is defeating you.
Don’t beat yourself up
The pressure is already on you – you’ve delayed and dodged the task, but don’t berate yourself for doing so. This will only add feelings of remorse and guilt to the already heavy weight on your shoulders. Accept the position you are in now, and move on.
Break it down into bite sized chunks
A huge thing (e.g. revision ☹ ) is too big to visualise and manage as one thing. Of course you can’t do that in one hit! However, breaking it down into chunks makes it easier to do. Start with a timeline from now until the deadline, and work backwards to fit all the pieces into the timeline. Do you need to re-read (or read for the first time!) a book or chapter to be able to answer some of the questions? Schedule that in as a specific chunk on your timeline. Make those chunks small enough to achieve in an hour and you are more likely to do them. Write down your chunks and when you’re going to do them, and tick them off as you do.
Make the first task an easy one – the effect of just getting a start on your big task will enthuse you and you may even start the second task ahead of schedule. Win!
…and turn off your phone
Gadgets are the tools of procrastination – turn off your phone, put up a ‘Do not disturb’ sign, and get your head down. Set a timer for an hour – you can live without Twitter for 60 minutes!
Give yourself a treat
When you have completed a task, reward your effort and acknowledge that you’re working towards your goal. Go for a walk, eat something yummy (but don’t do this every time!), spend 10 minutes catching up with a housemate and a coffee in the kitchen… just bear in mind your next task and when you need to start it. Don’t jeopardise your progress by getting distracted…
One final thought – keep yourself hydrated and nourished. If you’re yawning, you are most likely thirsty not tired. Hydration (not alcohol based!) keeps your brain functioning at top level and has shown to help with concentration, information retention and creativity. Keep drinking – just don’t overdose on caffeine!