Top Five Ways to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination is something that can plague the best of us. Even former president Bill Clinton was a well-known procrastinator! His career success proves that even if you struggle with consistently finishing projects and assignments now, it doesn’t have to hold you back forever. In this article, we’ve accumulated five of the best methods for beating the urge to just do it tomorrow.

Top 5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating

1. Create a work environment

It’s difficult to dedicate time to working in an area that you also dedicate to watching movies and relaxing after school or work. Chances are, the more you associate a space with not working, the less work you’ll get done when you’re there. Some ways to develop your own work environment would be clearing a desk or spot at a table that you aren’t going to sit at for any other purposes. Then you can place your stationary, laptop, files, folders, etc., there, so whenever you sit down, you feel as if you’re not at home, but at your job or school, and are able to use the physical surroundings of your location to change your mentality.

2. Make a plan – and stick to it.

This step seems like it would be obvious, but you’d be surprised how little most people actually follow through with the plans they make. A lot of times, we can get the illusion that we’re achieving a lot or have already done work for hours because we’re reading articles about studying or looking at other people’s study plans to get an idea for our own. The day before you wish to start on your goal or assignment, make an online document or take a piece of paper and write out the steps that you’ll need to get you where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to transfer this list to places like sticky notes or your phone screen, so that it’s harder for you to put those tasks off.

The secondary part of this method is actually sticking to the plan. It gets easy to say “Oh, I’ve had a long day. I can add today’s assignments onto tomorrow’s.” That’s how you end up with a huge amount of work to do in a short amount of time. Another way that this type of thinking is damaging is because it’s breaking any chance you have of getting rid of your old pattern of procrastination. It may be a myth that it takes twenty-one days to break a habit, but continuously staying dedicated to your goals will make the progress you see addicting – soon, it won’t even feel like you’re forcing yourself to do your work.

3. Find a motivation partner

By finding a motivation partner, you’re not only creating a sense of accountability by having to report your progress to another person but also getting a friend that you can struggle with on the harder days. When taking on overwhelming tasks that can trigger your procrastination, it can be nice to have someone sitting right beside you while you encourage each other not to give up. A motivation partner could be a coworker, close friend, study group, or even an Internet friend. It doesn’t matter where you find your buddy, it only matters that you both can hold each other liable for your own successes and failures, and that you each can grow from working together.

4. Take exercise breaks

Getting your blood moving through your body is a scientifically proven method of increasing focus. Taking breaks from intensive work and study is necessary to not only keep yourself mentally sane but also to increase the quality of your work. It can be easy for you to choose to lay on your bed or scroll through your phone for fifteen minutes, but that’s also a great way to end up putting off your assignments for hours. Some exercises you could try if you feel the pressure of your goals starting to hit you are:

  • jumping jacks
  • burpees
  • mountain climbers
  • go for a quick jog

5. Set up a reward system

Finally, you should set up a reward system to encourage yourself to do work more efficiently. This can be in the form of a type of candy you like, a spa day, or buying those new shoes you’ve had your eye on. Creating a symbiotic relationship between yourself and the textbooks is essential to becoming a dedicated student or employee. This is also a good way to distance out spending habits or lower your junk food intake. Once you’ve proved to yourself that the ends justify the means, the less you’ll have to worry about getting distracted from completing the race.

Works Cited:

DiSalvo, David. “Short Bursts Of Exercise Can Give Your Brain An Edge, Study Suggests.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, April 24, 2018.
Klosowski, Thorin. “Four Common Myths About Habits, Debunked.” Lifehacker, July 2, 2015.
Lamarque, Hannah. “Top 10 Most Famous Procrastinators in the World.” CareerAddict, September 30, 2019.

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