Powering through Procrastination – tips and tricks

I really need to study for my upcoming exams. 

I sit down at my desk. All my notes are out. I open up my laptop to start doing some searching when I come across a fascinating article. 

15 minutes later, I finish reading the article and decide it’s time to start working. I start jotting down notes when my phone buzzes. It’s a message from a friend I haven’t spoken to in over 24 hours, so of course, I have to respond. 

We chat for a good 10 minutes, and I am about to continue writing notes when I realise just how cold it is in my room, and I remember I haven’t had a cup of tea in a while. How on earth could I study without tea? 

I trek downstairs, boil the kettle, get distracted reading all of our fridge magnets, so a task that should only have taken 2 minutes takes 10/15 minutes, but who can blame me? It’s not like I’ve really started working either. 

I head upstairs and make it through about 2 pages worth of notes when I read something that reminds me of a line from a movie, which of course I can’t remember clearly and because I know it’s going to bug me relentlessly, I might as well just watch the film to figure it out. 

By the time I’m done watching my movie, I’m feeling quite hungry. You need your neurons to be firing at full capacity to study effectively, so got to get some fuel in the tank. Once that’s done, I settle into my desk, start working again, and it lasts maybe half an hour when I realise that I forgot to check my social media… 

Does this process sound familiar? Procrastination, in all its horrific shapes and forms, is a brutal beast to beat. It’s like a plague that can catch all of us when we least expect it, and once it sinks its claws in, it can be nearly impossible to shake. 

Procrastination is something challenging to deal with, but loads of people experience it daily in varying doses. According to my psychology textbooks, procrastination can be caused by several psychological tendencies linked to our self-worth, expectancy-value assumption of a task, or various other attributions. For some of us, procrastination may not be as deep as that – it may just be because we don’t have the energy or are just feeling, for lack of a better word, lazy!

No matter what the cause of your procrastination is, it can be something very frustrating, especially if you actually want to get work done, so, in the spirit of true procrastination, I am not studying for my exams to write this blog post and share 3 small tips with you for tackling procrastination. Yes, I see the irony.

Write a to-do list 

Sometimes we procrastinate because we don’t really know what we want to do or need to get done, or we find it challenging to stay on track. Having a to-do list is a great way to beat this because it keeps you focused on exactly what you need to get done and helps you keep track of your progress. Sometimes it is much easier to procrastinate when you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, so knowing how much you’ve gotten done can be really motivating. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than sitting back, seeing everything ticked off your list and being able to sit back and enjoy your relax time now that the work is done. 

Eliminate distractions 

It’s much harder to focus on your assignments if the tv is blaring in the background and you keep getting pulled into whatever show is on or hearing social media notifications that are just too tempting to avoid. 

Eliminating distractions is a great way to help curb procrastination because there are fewer things that can sidetrack you from work, so maybe a good idea is to set up times in the day where you put your phone on flight mode, in a drawer somewhere, turn off the tv and get rid of anything that could be distracting for a bit. Not only will you get the work done faster and more efficiently, but you’ll also enjoy the times after when you can check your phone or watch tv. 

Give yourself rewards 

One of the fundamental principles I have learnt through life is that people are driven by incentives, whether they are positive or negative. SO if your mind keeps drifting, why not provide yourself with an incentive to get your work done? 

By rewarding yourself for your efforts, you’re reminding yourself that the task has values, and it will keep you focused, knowing that once you’ve done the allocated section/tasks, you can indulge a little. I suggest giving yourself a reward, such as being allowed to watch one episode of something for every chapter you learn perhaps, rather than self-consequating. Positive reinforcement works so much better than negative reinforcement because all that punishing yourself will do, such as saying no relaxing until you’ve finished all your work, is create negative feelings and can lead to a very toxic working environment that only causes you stress. It’s far better to develop mini-milestones and give yourself rewards for that. 

Procrastination is challenging to overcome, and everyone has different tips, but the critical thing that always comes with these sorts of changes is knowing what works for you. I know that my phone doesn’t really distract me, but other things too, so I adapt to make sure they aren’t an issue. I know what rewards work for me and how I work best, so I use that to my advantage. The key to beating procrastination, or any problematic issue like this, is knowing how you work and what sort of methods you need to help YOU!! 

What tips do you have for beating procrastination? Do you have any sure-fire methods that keep procrastination at bay?? Why do you find yourself procrastinating, and when you are avoiding work, what’s the first thing you reach for? Let’s chat in the comments section!

Lots of love

Blondey on a Mission xxx 

Author: blondeyonamission

Hey everyone! I'm a lifestyle and travel blogger from South Africa and about to relocate to the UK for university. My blog is all about stories, tips and advice with topics ranging from university, organisation, friends, books, travel and more. Please check it out and I hope you enjoy xxx

25 thoughts

  1. Amazing post. An indepth post on procrastination and tips to avoid. It was really an eye opener and the post title is apt, the tips are really powerful.
    I tend to procrastinate things and to-do list cones to the rescue. It creates a virtual pressure to complete the tasks. After ticking off the tasks; at the end of day, the satisfaction is like you have conquered something big and you have won the day. Thanks for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do my own version of the Pomodoro technique when I work. I’ll set goals to work until I get something done, then I can watch a show or do something distracting for a set amount of time. Then I repeat. It’s like a reward for getting the work done.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My default for studying is to put on headphones, block out the world, and listen to instrumental/chillhop music, but if I’m really struggling to focus I’ve found it can help to turn off the music but keep my headphones on. I’m not sure why it helps, but it does!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not the type of person who likes to push their work off to the side; before covid, I did a few assignments per day so that I didn’t wait till the very end to do them. But because most of my classes were asynchronous this past school year, I was able to divide up the work, so that I got my assignments done on time without getting stressed out. I did one assignment per day, so that I get something accomplished without getting stressed or overloaded with work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s amazing!! Really great to split things up like that and you’re right it does help to avoid stress. I used to militant in working like this but with uni being online it has allowed me to procrastinate which I really need to stop😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah – your routine sounds exactly like me. Add to it this weird habit that I have where I keep postponing doing work till it’s a round off time like if it’s 10:15AM, I’ll wait till 10:30 but if it’s gotten to 10:31, I’ll wait till 11 to start work. 🙈🙈
    I have no tips whatsoever for beating procrastination cause that’s what I’ve been doing these past 2 weeks. 😓
    Going to try and use your tips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhh yes I completely get you on that rounding off like what is the point in starting anything at 10:40 rather wait until 11😂😂 shame sorry about that I hope these help🙈🙈

      Like

  6. I don’t just do a To Do List. I follow it up with an I Did List to see my progress and also give me peace of mind. I got the idea from somewhere. Can’t remember where

    Liked by 2 people

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    Liked by 1 person

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