I’m sure most of us have been there at the dreaded place called “Procrastination” Maybe some have been there much more often than they would like to admit but I will say that I am one of those people. Putting things off
to pursue mind numbing activities like surfing the web, looking at the latest Youtube
crazes or constantly checking your Facebook
and e-mail…Sound familiar?
There’s good news though! We can all learn a few tips and tricks in order to flush out that procrastination and finally get that essay done or housework we’ve been meaning to do for ages. I can say from personal experience from being able to walk into a nice neat room and knowing that I don’t have to write that 10 page paper at the last minute is surprisingly refreshing.
A helpful tip in preventing procrastination is to write out what tasks need to be done and write which ones are most important to those that are least important. For example, an essay that is due two days from now is more important than cleaning your room. You do not need a clean room to write! If you would like a neater space, go to your local coffee shop or library and if you absolutely must stay at home, find a neater room in your house or apartment.
2. List, list, list!
One of the things I have noticed is that by writing a list of the things you need to do is such a huge help in the quest to get things done. By setting up a list for doing things at specific times will also help a bunch too. For instance, say you need to write an essay, clean your room, make some phonecalls and finish up some work related tasks you can create something similar to this…
My Day – April 25th 2011
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Waking up, breakfast
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – Shower
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Write outline for essay
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Tidy room
Obviously you can add in any appointments or classes you must attend and leave enough time so that you can get there, spend enough time there and the trip home. This list will give you a general outline of your day. If you happen to run a few minutes over into the next task that’s fine and if you happen to end a bit early that is fine as well. If you happen to be stuck on one task either stop and start the next task or continue and adjust the schedule accordingly.Of course things in life happen so that this may not work out 100% as you have planned, but at least you have a plan. Always make some time set aside just for yourself!
3. Split up tasks
As you can see from the list above I had put from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Write outline for essay. By splitting the tasks up you can get more done by not getting stuck on one thing for too long. If the tasks are boring or they require a lot of mental energy it’s best to do chunks of them at different times. So later on in the day you may want to put 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Write intro paragraph. Make sure for things like this you allot yourself a few days to finish the task. You can set up your schedules for the week on Sunday and edit whatever pops up accordingly.
4. Set reminders
Have reminders sent to your phone or e-mail stating the important things you have to do throughout the day or week. It’s best to have them sent enough time before the actual task is due. If it’s something like cleaning up set up a date you would like to have it clean by and stick to it! Treat it as if you would treat papers that are due for school or tasks that are due for work. Something like this is especially important for school papers or projects because you want to leave enough time to finish it and revise it if needed.
5. Have friends or family help
It’s always good to talk to your friends or family about some of the issues you may be having with keeping on task. My guess is that your friends will be more than happy to help you stay on task and may even be able to help you finish the task earlier. Having people congratulate you on finishing your task is a huge reward too and will boost your confidence to be able to continue finishing tasks.
6. Shut off the electronics!
If you know for a fact that your cellphone, laptop, iPad or whatever other device you have is going to distract you, TURN IT OFF! It’s really as simple as that. You can even have one of your friends hold on to it for you while you finish your work. If you are writing an essay on the computer and need the internet you must practice some self-discipline. Only go to websites that are needed for your project or print it out and then shut off the internet connection. After you’ve finished you can reward yourself by going on the computer or doing whatever it is that you would rather be doing. Always use that time to tell yourself “Hey, I finished what I needed to get done. Isn’t it awesome that I get to do what I want to do now?”
Procrastination doesn’t always have to be scary. Planning is key! You must, must, must plan your day out and stick to it as best as you possibly can. By ignoring a task or telling yourself you will “Do it later” it allows for the task to slip out of your mind. Having lists and a plan will put the things you need to do right in front of you so that you won’t forget and you will know what needs to be done!