Everyone procrastinates, I can assure you of that (don’t even try denying it). Thankfully, there are methods that will help you overcome such difficulties. There will be steps along the process of accomplishing these feats that you may not thoroughly enjoy, but solving the issue of procrastination will help you throughout your life. I present to you a few key ideas you must keep in mind to keep yourself from dithering.
Make a to-do list to constantly remind yourself of what you have to accomplish that day. It may seem overwhelming at first, but the shrinking of the list will surely provide you a sense of achievement. Even better, keep a schedule and assign a specific time limit to complete a task. This will ensure that you will finish your allocated amount of work within the restricted amount of time. Prioritizing your work may also be helpful, since you will be more aware of which tasks are more urgent and which can be completed at later times.
More often than not, there is a source of distraction that keeps you from completing your tasks. As students at a school where using a Macbook is part of the curriculum, we must learn to avoid distractions when focusing solely on our work. There are several applications available that are effective in blocking distracting sites. For example, the application ‘Persistence’ allows you to decide a time when it will block all indicated sites. During that time, you can dedicate yourself to your work, being unable to open up distracting websites when sidetracked. Other helpful applications include ‘Self Control’ and ‘StayFocusd’ on Chrome.
Once you become motivated to get some work done, you may feel the urge to perfect your work before you turn it in, no matter how insignificant it may be. Though your attempts to get things perfect aren’t necessarily bad, it may be more effective to place importance on getting the task done. Once you spend too much effort on making your work flawless, you may run out of time for other things. After completing all your tasks, you can always go back and edit your work until you are satisfied.
No matter what, we all have a source of motivation, but there are two main kinds that you may want to consider. Positive reinforcement (the one I personally recommend), is when you provide yourself with incentives every time you finish something. Try rewarding yourself with food, or a ten minute break every time you finish reading a chapter. Anything you look forward to can work as an incentive. If this isn’t useful, negative reinforcement is also a method. Prevent yourself from any source of enjoyment until you get your work done. For example, cancel that movie date with your friend if necessary.
Use your friend as a stimulus. This may not work for everyone, but I usually can’t work when I’m alone. When your friend is next to you to motivate you along the way, you usually can focus on your work better. Peer pressure may be the right method, suited for you. Try out this method and see if this is an effective solution for you.
What method works best for you? Tell us in the comments below!
– Serim Jang (’16)