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How To Deal With Procrastination

Procrastination can strike us all, at any time and ahead of any task! 

One thing we hear from students a lot is that they struggle when it comes to procrastinating school work. So what can you do to break the cycle of procrastinating? 

Well, that is a hard question to answer! This is something that likely most people have dealt with at some point in their life and may not have a solution that works each time to overcome it. Below are four suggestions we have when it comes to how to overcome procrastination of a task, and hopefully one of these will help you next time you’re feeling stuck!

 

(Ps – more of a visual person? Check out our video on this topic HERE

 

1. Make and use a schedule!

This seems very obvious but can be a small change you make that helps you procrastinate less. A very useful tool here is a printed planner where you can break up your day into timed sections and allocate tasks during those times. It makes it harder to not stick to your schedule when it is written down in front of you! The human mind is an incredibly powerful rationalization tool for bad decisions and you may find that if you haven’t made a plan and scheduled out how you’re going to spend your time, all of a sudden that one hour of Netflix becomes three (the shows do autoplay onto the next episode, after all!) 

However, if you’ve written down that you’re going to start your homework at 4pm, you have to at least ignore the plan that past-you made in order to procrastinate. In psychology this is called “externalizing” which is what you’re doing when you’re writing your plan down on an external source and making something that you are kept accountable by. If you don’t have a schedule or a planner it is much easier and more tempting to procrastinate. 

 

2. Eliminate distractions 

In the time it’s taken you to read this blog, have you found your mind wandering elsewhere? Maybe to another tab in your browser to look at something else, or to the cell phone sitting on the desk next to you? 

Another one of those ‘obvious but we’ll still say it’ tips is that it’s much easier to get distracted by social media if you have the tab open on your laptop or your phone right next to you lighting up each time someone tags you in a meme on Instagram. Funnily enough, there are many apps you can use to help you eliminate the distraction that is your phone. Freedom.to is just one option (and there are many out there) that can help with eliminating digital distractions. 

Think about your work space and where you’re settling to actually complete tasks. It’s much harder to stay focused if you’re working in front of the TV or lying in bed when you’re already feeling tired. Find a space that is comfortable and has everything you need close by, but make sure it’s a space dedicated to getting work done and not somewhere that you associate with sleep or a movie night. 

 

3. Set unambitious goals 

This sounds a little crazy but has worked for me many times in my life. If you’re approaching a massive task and are feeling overwhelmed by it, it’s easy not to see how you can even start that task and therefore you put it off. Long term projects or large papers can create this kind of procrastination because every time you think about starting it, you think about doing the WHOLE project all at once, which is overwhelming. 

The key with procrastination like this is to make the starting point of your big project so small and so unambitious that it doesn’t take a lot of mental energy to start. It could be just writing the first sentence or writing an outline/ thesis statement. You will probably find that it’s much  easier to keep going once you’ve started with this small first step. 

 

4. Keep Trying!!

Remember that most of us struggle with procrastination when it comes to specific tasks and you probably have years of “bad” procrastination habits under your belt that will take time to work through. Be patient with yourself! Try some of these strategies and see what works for you – maybe different things will work at different times. 

 

All the best, 

Team Insight 

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