Ever tell yourself that you’re going to take a five minute work or study break only to find yourself sitting in front of the computer watching your eighth Suits episode of the day? Me too. But waste time no more! Procrastination can be conquered if you know the right strategies.
Behold the Pomodoro technique! It’s super-simple – set a timer to run for 25 minutes, work for those 25 minutes, and then give yourself a 5 minute break. After repeating that process 4 times, give yourself a longer break. Easy, right? Giving yourself constant opportunities to relax makes your workload seem more manageable and helps you resist taking breaks that are hours long.
If 25 minutes is still too long for you, try working for five minutes. Yep, just five minutes! Not convinced that you’re going to get anything done? It turns out that one of the main reasons people procrastinate is because they’re scared – when you have a big task in front of you, getting started can seem intimidating, and sometimes even impossible. But working for five minutes helps you get over the terror of getting started. You might even find that you don’t want to stop after five minutes! (Really)
Sometimes creating a work schedule can also make it easier to avoid procrastination. If you tell yourself that you’re going to start working at 2 PM every day as opposed to just “sometime in the afternoon” or “after 12” , it’ll be harder to come up with excuses.
Next, try to get rid of distractions! And not just the obvious ones (like your phone), either. Try to identify distractions that you might not ordinarily think of as distractions – a loose thread on your shirt, for example. I can’t count how many times I’ve spent nearly half an hour zoning out trying to pick off a half-attached sweater button or twirling a necklace around my wrist.
Need more of an incentive? Give yourself rewards! I personally like to promise myself chocolate when I work for a certain amount of time, but your reward can be anything – ice cream, TV time, even taking a short walk around the house to clear your head.
Another strategy that works for me is to think of successful people that I admire. Whether your idol is Barack Obama, Tiny Fey, or Jennifer Lawrence, it’s clear that they didn’t get to where they are today by sitting back and doing nothing. Pin their posters up in your bedroom, make one of their faces your phone background – do whatever it takes.
And finally, the number one way to stop procrastinating (in my opinion) is to work with someone else in the room. I can procrastinate for hours on end when I’m doing work on the computer, but if at least one other person is working beside or around me then I’m a lot less likely to check Twitter or Tumblr. (Because let’s face it, nobody should have to witness the chaos and confusion that is my Tumblr dashboard) Procrastinating with the thought that somebody else could be watching you procrastinate (and simultaneously judging you for it) makes you more self-conscious, and thus less likely to procrastinate.
Do you procrastinate? How do you try to stop?
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