Philosophy Dinosaur memes aside, procrastination isn’t a virtue. No matter how you turn it, at one point you’ll have to get started and – hopefully – get things done as well.
For me, the way out of my procrastination habits was a painful journey. I hope to make yours a little easier!
The Queen of Procrastination
One time one of my friends told me that I’m the queen of procrastination. See, I was that person that left everything undone until it was almost too late. But then I’d finish my project or whatever it was this time in record speed and I usually got good enough grades to not worry about my procrastination habits. Everything turned out fine, didn’t it?
But everything changed, when the Working Nation attacked….
What I’m trying to say is, procrastination isn’t necessarily bad. For me it worked as a damn good motivator. BUT (yeah, there’s always a “but”) I found myself struggling once I started my daytime job. Long nights spent studying were no longer possible as well as writing a paper in a day – there simply was no time any more.
Here’s to Change
It became evident that I had to do something about my problem. When trying not to procrastinate any more the most important thing you can do is change! Although this is easier said than done, it’s the only real way to escape the loop of waiting, feeling guilty, starting too late and waiting again because you’re too afraid of the whole process.
How to Change your Habits
Now that we know that we need to change, let’s move on to actually changing! First, you have to determine what your studying or working habits are. Think of it like this: if you want to change, you need to know what to change.
Habits that are usually in need of changing are (or at least were for me):
- Bad workplace hygiene. I don’t mean that your workplace should be at least halfway clean, that goes without saying. Workplace hygiene works like sleep hygiene. You shouldn’t watch TV in bed, establish a sleeping schedule and so on. Well, it is the same for your working habits: Set a place where you work and only work. Establish a schedule where you plan when you have the time and brains for working. Know how you like to work (this will make the whole process a lot easier).
- Bad organisation. I am a slob. At some points it gets so bad, that you can’t see any table underneath all the paper and other stuff. But during my journey to a procrastination-free life, I learned that starting projects and papers is a lot easier if you know where you put your materials.
- No To-Do-Ing. As I’ve established this week, writing to do lists helps a lot with everything. If you tend to procrastination, try to split your tasks up a bit more. The smaller the task, the more likely you are to start.
- No reward system. Getting started is hard, but sometimes staying motivated and going on is just as difficult. If you have problems with working through a project, try rewarding yourself. As before, know what works for you!
- Wrong reward system. Be careful. Not every reward system works for everyone but there are some rewards that seem designed to make you fail: Watching an episode of your favourite TV show (or any TV show), playing a game “just for ten minutes”, unhealthy (fast) food and the list goes on. Try to choose rewards that don’t distract you too much or for too long!
- Perfectionism is a fail-safe way to make yourself procrastinate. It feeds in the aforementioned cycle of guilt, shame, stress and fear. Just try to always remember: It doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be done!