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.
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