Procrastination – We do it everyday without even realizing. Even I did when writing this blog post. I sat down at my desk to write, but saw that my room was in dire need of vacuuming.
After that, I spontaneously decided I wanted to bake cookies, followed by doing SAT practice questions. I conducted all these tasks in avoidance of other pending tasks. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does.
Why do we do this you might ask? Well we’re human! There’s no one right answer to this question because as humans we are all different.
Causes of Procrastination
We all experience anxieties or fears on some or many occasions. This overwhelming feeling causes us to unintentionally perform tasks in order to avoid the persistent feeling faced with incomplete responsibilities.
From the homework assignment due next week, to the book you have to read by tomorrow, and to the article for your blog (definitely not talking about me) – it is often inevitable that we will procrastinate when faced with tedious tasks.
Procrastination is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not always caused by laziness. It could be caused by the psychological mechanism I explained before, or also to believing that performing the task later in the process is beneficial.
Some people think that starting the five page essay ten hours before it’s due could spark a certain genius or inspiration within them, and they could write the best essay they’ve ever written under time constraints. Of course it’s risky, but it works.
However, I’m not telling you that you should do that. Again, you never know when procrastination can be a blessing in disguise or a curse. In this case, notably, it remains a blessing in disguise. You can’t always rely on this tactic for countless instances.
Risks of Procrastinating
What happens when you have an AP Biology test the next day, and you haven’t studied or even opened the textbook all week? You either don’t study and hope for the best or you cram the night before.
In the process, you lose valuable sleep – leading to difficulty when trying to concentrate on your exam. This is the most common example of procrastination people consider and I tell you NOT to do this.
Procrastination can cause you extra stress in the long run and unfortunately potential failure. You may be thinking? Wow I already knew that, but how do I stop?!
The Best Way to Avoid Procrastination
Our brains have certain mechanisms hardwired, leading us to often experience procrastination it without realizing. Therefore, this signifies how we have to challenge our brains to view it from a different perspective.
If you feel that procrastination is causing you more harm than good, the tips mentioned further below could possibly counteract this dilemma.
In terms of the number 1 tip, I recommend to make a schedule every Sunday that plans the week ahead. Everyday, you’ll add tasks onto your schedule while including the amount of time you will spend on each.
This will be especially beneficial for the purpose of avoiding stress and completing everything in a timely, convenient manner. However, you have to remember to follow your schedule as best as possible, or else it will represent a waste of time.
Persevering toward your goal of following all of your designated tasks will leave you hopeful, optimistic, and definitely less overwhelmed.
More Helpful Tips
Another tip is to time yourself. See how long it will take you to read 10 pages, write a paragraph, clean your room, study for a test, and perform other daily tasks.
Then, plan out within your schedule in an organized fashion how much time you will spend on each activity and include breaks between. The goal of this is to train your brain to perform tasks in individual intervals.
In between these tasks you can reward yourself with a break or a specific prize that you feel will encourage you to continue. As a result, you will feel confident enough to spend time on things you would otherwise leave to the last minute.
This is due to the fact that you’re still avoiding stress in a more efficient way. It will take some time, of course, but at the end of the day you will thrive – I can guarantee it!
Change your environment. If you find it difficult to focus while working in a certain area, then try to change the setting of your work space to suit your needs and personal preferences. As long as your environment isn’t easily distracting then you should be fine.
To further eliminate distractions, shut off and store your technological devices someplace that will not be tempting. If you’d rather have your phone or other technological devices near you then you can utilize specific applications that place restrictions on usage and/or encourage competence. Some of these apps include but are not limited to:
1. Flora- Focus Habit Tracker
2. Quizlet- Flashcards and study tools
3. Be Focused- Focus Timer and Goal Tracker
4. Pocket Schedule Planner
There are countless other strategies that you can use to utilize your time wisely and eliminate stresses involved with procrastination.
However, we are all different therefore different methods work for different people. As you endure your journey towards increased productivity, here are some other resources of websites you can use to further your knowledge if you find it interesting.