Student blog: 5 simple ways to stop procrastinating
Bibidh Subedi is an IT student at Queensford College. Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, he is an experienced web content writer with profound interest in sports.
Got a deadline approaching? Regretting not starting your task sooner? Yup, that happens to the best of us.
Procrastination means you engage in low-priority, enjoyable and easier tasks instead of unpleasant and bigger tasks. You are always coming up with excuses to delay the task, waiting for the "right mood" or "right time" to actually get it done. This might feel great at the moment, but it only creates more stress, guilt and poorer performance in the long-term. It may eventually blow opportunities, risk your health and even ruin careers.
Finding a cure to procrastination is really not that difficult if you put your mind to it. We’ve got a few simple tips to get you started.
Break the task into manageable pieces
When the task seems too daunting, we tend to procrastinate. If you have a simple and attainable goal, you are more likely to succeed. For instance, instead of planning to complete the whole essay tonight, focus on the introduction and one of the easier sections. Divide your work into smaller chunks and focus on the most current task.
You can either start with the tasks you find least pleasant and get them out of your way early, or complete the task with the highest priority first. You can also ask someone to check up on you regularly.
It is vital to remember the importance of the work that you are doing. When the task is getting boring or tough, it is possible to lose focus. But just imagine the result you want to achieve and visualise your success. Do you feel good about that? Let that positive feeling drive you to your goal!
Pick the time and environment that works for you
There are no perfect conditions in which to work. However, there might be a time of the day when you feel most efficient. Make the best use of that time of the day.
Likewise, the environment you work can help or hinder productivity. Study or work in a place without too much noise or distraction, where you feel most comfortable. Look around for spots and spaces that can boost your productivity.
If you enjoy the time and environment you are working in, you are less likely to procrastinate and get things done quickly.
Get rid of distractions
Rid yourself of disruptions which will side-track you from your task. If you get distracted by emails, social media or television, turn them off! If your phone distracts you, keep it out of sight or set it on airplane mode.
Similarly, a messy working environment can also be a distraction. Organise your books and documents, put the irrelevant ones aside, and only keep the ones you need at that moment.
Get on with it!
Students often procrastinate on a specific task because they don’t know how to start. Just remember that what you are doing does not have to be perfect. You can get it done first and always modify it later.
If it helps, follow the 5-minute rule to start your task. The 5-minute rule is a form of behavioural therapy for procrastination where one sets a goal and does that task for five minutes. You are free to stop your task after the first five minutes. However, once you get started, you will likely find it easy to continue until you get it done.
Reward yourself, but don’t overdo it
Sometimes you need a push to get over the line. Promise yourself a reward if you complete your task on time or even when you complete a difficult task. Perhaps a coffee from your favourite coffee shop – just remember, don’t let that 1-hour coffee break turn into a whole week.