Saturday, April 19, 2014

How to: Kick Procrastination Out of Your Life

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Hi there! According to Charles Dickens, "Procrastination is the thief of time." It sucks the hours out of your day and you just can’t do anything anymore because you’ve somehow managed to waste all of your times. We’ve all been guilty of this because, well, we’re all human, but if it’s a regular occurrence, it can really affect your overall mood, productivity, and if you’re in school especially, your grades.

I was never absolutely awful when it came to procrastination, but I was still pretty bad. In middle school, I would always spend quite a bit of time after school watching YouTube videos, catching up on TV, etc, playing guitar for too long and stuff like that instead of getting right into my homework and getting it over with. That slowly changed so I was doing it the work with the distractions all around me which obviously made me rather unproductive. I still managed to get by with high grades because I’d ended up working really hard and in turn not getting enough sleep, which just isn’t healthy.

That’s why this year at the start of my high school career, I decided to change my procrastinating/unproductive ways because it was just ruining me. Keep reading to see how I did it.

1. Identify the roots of the problem.

Yes, roots. Plural. Often, there’s more than one problem that starts it all when it comes to procrastination. I found that one thing for me was that I wasn’t motivated enough to start my work. I needed some kind of incentive to get myself going.

Another one was that I really liked putting a video or music on in the background. I could deal with the background noise pretty well as in I didn’t let it distract me too much, but it still distracted me. Distractions, another problem.

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2. Cut out all distractions.

Distractions are just the worse when you’re trying to get some work done. If you know you’re going to get distracted by electronics lying around like your phone, laptop (if you don’t need it for your work), whatever it may be, GET RID OF IT. It sounds so simple and it might be hard, but it’s worth it. Just do yourself a favour and get rid of distractions.

If music helps you concentrate, then keep that. But whatever you do, don’t lie to yourself and fool yourself into thinking that you actually need it to work when in reality, you just like listening to music.

If music doesn’t help you concentrate, make sure to cut out that distraction along with YouTube videos or TV because it’ll only slow you down and there’ll be a bigger chance of you getting distracted by them (sorry I’m saying the word “distracted/distractions” so much, I can’t help it) and forget your work.

2B. Distractions: don’t go on social media sites.

Seriously though – don’t. They will be the death of you. I really can’t elaborate on this, sorry.

3. Clean your space.

Having a clean and organised workspace is key to getting your work done and being productive. If it looks like the aftermath of a tornado, you’re not going to feel very motivated to sit down and do the work. Take some time to clean it up and make it look like something that makes you happy.

It’s also so important to find a quiet place to do your work. If you’re at home and you happen to do your work at the same time that your brother is swearing at the TV whilst playing video games, it might not be the best idea to be near that area of the house. You catch my drift?

4. Make a to-do list and/or a schedule.

Once you have those pesky little things, you nearly ready to get to work. Make a detailed list of what you have to do and make it specific. Vague tasks like “work on science project” will not get you anywhere. Instead of that, you could say something like “find research on topics x, y, and z for science project.” Afterwards, you could make a schedule and allot yourself enough time to finish all your tasks. Don’t spread yourself too thin and give yourself too many things to do and too little time. It’ll make you a lot less motivated, trust me.

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5. Take (frequent-ish) breaks.

I’m not someone who takes that many breaks whilst working because I don’t get that bothered by working for hours on end, but if you know you’re someone who can’t do that, be sure to give yourself a short break every once in a while, so every half hour or hour or so, so that you can refuel to have enough energy to keep going.

Do you procrastinate? If so, how badly? If you have in the past, how did you manage to get over it? Share your stories below!

Thank you so much for reading!
- J

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