Procrastination: A modern epidemic we face every day.
We’ve all been there when you’re writing that essay, studying for that exam, or even responding to that important email and next thing you know, you’re finding yourself re-organising your entire apartment, colour coordinating your wardrobe while watching Stranger Things on Netflix even though you have watched the series twice already. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re far from alone!
As European summer comes to an end and semester two roles around for students we know it’s hard to get back in the swing of things and get life’s general duties done. Procrastination can be our worst enemy and it’s a daily challenge we face when it comes to work, study, or even our personal lives. In order to progress you need to be brutally honest with yourself and figure out what is that’s stopping you from getting the job done! Start by focusing on the four pillars that influence procrastination; low task value, personality, high expectations, and fear of failure.
Below we have put together a list of tips to stop procrastinating once and for all. So grab your to-do list and get to work because it’s time to adult people!
Basically, time blocking is where you organise and pre-plan your day into specific time blocks so you’re not continually pfaffing about and being unproductive. This way you’re not fixated on one task for too long. If you have larger tasks to complete, try splitting them into smaller subtasks to maximise your focus and productivity. Time blocking generally works best for CEO’s, managers, or those who work daily with a lot of people, and each block is 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t forget to schedule lunch!
Pomodoro is a technique of 25-minute intervals of monotasking followed by timed breaks. The goal is to help you get into the zone, focus on the task at hand - but also come up for air! It also proved to help your attention span, concentration, and stay on top of dreaded deadlines. Once your 25 minutes of work is up, treat yourself to a five-minute break, and every fourth interval take a 15-30 minute break. This way you will Incentivise yourself to work by creating rewards for every goal you meet. Make sure you use your breaks wisely! After completing something that you’ve been dreading to do, reward yourself with something you enjoy. It could be something small like making yourself a tea or coffee, go on a short walk, or even call a friend. Download a timer app like Pomodone or Focus Booster to make sure your timing is staying on track.
Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you’re working on a big task, break it down into small manageable steps. This way each task won’t seem so daunting meaning you will be less likely to put it off and have a sleepless night at the last minute. For example, if you're supposed to write an essay, start with a few paragraphs or even just take 20 minutes to research and plan what you’re going to write about.
We know we know, easier said than done! But did you know, the average millennial checks their phone 150 times a day! In the busy virtual world we live in, our phones have become an extension of ourselves where we check our social media and messages every minute. Take a digital detox! Turning off your distracting devices or even turning off your notifications is so simple yet so effective. You’ll get a lot more done once you let yourself become fully invested in a task without splitting your attention elsewhere.
Out of sight, out of mind
Protect yourself from the interruption! Keep anything that is going to distract you in your bag, in your locker, or even at home. You know if your phone is in front of you, you will be more inclined to check it leading you to waste time through endless Instagram scrolling, and if your phone is far away, it is most likely you won't be bothered to walk over and get it. Save yourself the temptation!
This is quite contradicting to our last few tips. In our advanced technological world, the internet offers a range of procrastinating tools to help you perform efficiently. Use apps like Evernote to schedule out your day and projects while giving you access to anything work-related in the same location. Then there are apps like Anti-social, and Cold Turkey that will take care of your digital social distractions. These apps allow you to select which apps you wish to block and for what period of time, then they’ll auto-shutdown when you try to open them. Sorry people, no Instagram scrolling until the task is done.
Get it over and done with
The hardest part of any project is to actually start the project. Tackle your hardest projects first thing in the morning when you’re fresh minded, energised and more focused. Not everything has to be perfect. Don’t give yourself the time to ‘stuff around’. The quicker you start, the quicker the task is over and done with, allowing you to have a cruisy afternoon.
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