It is increasingly easy for time to slip away from me—whether scrolling on Tik Tok (make sure to look at the Girl Spring account @girlspringpower) or just looking at a blank screen. In fact, you may even be reading this article in an attempt to feel productive without actually doing work. Bill Watersoon, Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist, once said “You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” Watersoon was definitely onto something with a night before rush, but at the end of the day procrastination always results in the worst case scenario and work not done well.
No matter the circumstance, procrastination affects us all and combating it is key to achieving high goals. The success of students, artists, athletes, and more is hindered by Netflix shows near and far. Right now especially, as a majority of work is moved online and away from a focused environment, it is even easier to slip into the procrastination mindset and fall behind. So, here are some tips and tricks to help leave the Procrastination Train Station.
Research finds that external events restrict the mind from focusing on the task at hand. Even if you feel fully focused, being surrounded by people, entertainment, or dozens of sounds can inhibit your brain. The more your brain works the longer it takes to get a simple task done. Thus, finding a separated space to study and work is crucial. Work with siblings and family members to find a spot that will be quiet spot in your home with minimal distractions.
Along with finding a quiet secluded area, a zone dedicated to studying, practice, etc. also helps with completing a task. For example, using your bed to sleep and study hurts the performance of students and the quality of study. Because the brain associates the bed for sleeping or simply relaxing, it will be increasingly difficult to work efficiently and you may find yourself rolling over and dozing off.
Put it away
It is so tempting to leave your phone sitting next to you, even turned over, set on do not disturb! But, just having a phone sitting next to the homework makes checking social media more appealing. Simply putting away a cell phone will help you focus on the task at hand, and get it done faster—leaving even more time for senseless scrolling.
Set short goals and rewards
When you find yourself procrastinating and dreading the work set ahead of you, make it fun. If Physics is not your most favorite subject in the world, set a goal to do 10 problems and have a mini break or a fun treat! The most efficient studiers or artists are not the ones who work nonstop for 5 hours, but instead work on and off. Spending just 50 minutes of an hour working and 10 minutes scrolling quickly enhances the quality of your activity. Additionally, tempting yourself with a break allows time to feel as though you’re procrastinating while actually doing work. Another goal/reward method that has succeeded for me stems from delaying work with entertainment. Often I find myself saying “after this episode” I’ll start working, but inevitably click the next episode and find myself three episodes deep with no work done. When you find yourself feeling stressed, turn it off and look forward to finishing the episode after completing your task.
Finally, planning is essential not only in preventing procrastination but in working in general. Personally, I enjoy making plans, lists, and decorating my to-dos. Does this sound familiar? If so, make sure to use your creative side to start tasks. Creating a plan also aids in staying on task. If you rely on your brain to remember everything you need to do, there is not as much pressure to finish (and you risk forgetting something). So, take a piece of paper, and agenda, a notebook, etc. and outline all of the tasks you wish to finish, and I recommend setting time limits!
So even if you’ve tried everything and you still find yourself procrastinating—don’t fear! Practice makes perfect and finding a routine that works for you is what is most important. Most importantly, hopping back on the train instead of using procrastination as an excuse to fall back into the hole. If there are any methods or tricks that work for you, comment them. From one procrastinator to another, you’ve got this!