What is procrastination?
Procrastination occurs when you keep putting off the things you should be doing in favor of doing something else (usually something more fun, or easier to do).
Example: Cleaning your dorm room instead of doing your research paper.
Example: Playing on facebook instead of reading your textbook.
How can I overcome procrastination?
First, you need to recognize the fact that you are procrastinating. Chances are you already know when you're putting off certain tasks. Are you filling your day with low-level, easy tasks when you have other things that need to be done? Are you spending a large chunk of time reading emails for work or school, without doing anything about them? Are you waiting for "the right mood" or "right time" to do the important assignments or tasks that need to be done? If you are doing these things, you are procrastinating.
Then, you need to figure out why you're procrastinating. Is the assignment unpleasant? Does the idea of doing it seem overwhelming? Are you having a hard time deciding which tasks are most important?
Once you've figured out why you are procrastinating, you need to develop strategies to help prevent you from continuing to procrastinate. There are several ways to do this:
- Keep a prioritized list of tasks and/or assignments that need to be done. Do them in order. Devote a quality amount of time to each task.
- Reward yourself. Promise yourself a treat, a pedicure, a coffee or whatever peaks your interest for being able to complete an assignment by a certain time. Notice how good you feel for completing your assignment!
- Ask someone to check on you. Having someone encouraging you or pushing you to continue with your work helps! Knowing that you will have to report to someone will help you stay on task.
- Focus on one thing at a time.
- If you're procrastinating because the task seems overwhelming, try breaking the assignment/task into smaller pieces. Example: Task: Complete 20 page research paper. First, complete reading assignments. Second, choose research topic, and write thesis. Third, go to the library and find x amount of sources. Fourth, read sources. Fifth, commence paper over x amount of days/weeks.
- If you're procrastinating because the assignment is unpleasant, reward yourself when you've completed the task. Perhaps you'll find the assignment wasn't as bad as you'd imagined.
Source: adapted from mindtools.com