If you’re a human being, chances are you’ve struggled with procrastination in the past. It’s pretty much the easiest thing in the world to put something off until you have just enough time before it is due to complete it. Or to put tasks such as washing your dishes off until your kitchen sink becomes a smelly, atrocious cesspool. Did that thing that looks like a piece of leftover chicken just move on its own…?
It definitely feels good to procrastinate; there’s no doubt about that. If it didn’t, people wouldn’t struggle with it so often. Putting off work for more pleasurable activities reduces stress for the duration of time the work is able to be ignored. However, when it comes down to it and there’s two hours left until the class in which that 3-page paper you haven’t even started is due, the feelings of stress and anxiety you get aren’t all that great. The costs of procrastination outweigh the temporary benefits, especially because the quality of your work typically suffers due to the decreased amount of time put into the project.
Even Spongebob struggles with procrastination.
We all know procrastination is bad for us. So how do we combat it? Here are a couple suggestions:
-Turn off the wireless adapter on your laptop.
-Work in a public area where people can see your laptop screen, such as a coffee shop. This will remove you from your comfort zone where there are countless distractions such as food, television, or your bed. It also might inspire you to do some work, because who wants people walking by and thinking, “Did this person just bring his laptop to the coffee shop to go on Facebook?”
-Download Cold Turkey. This is a program that will block specified websites such as Facebook and reddit as well as applications such as Steam or Solitaire for any duration of time that you specify. For maximum productivity, set Cold Turkey to unblock your specified programs or websites for 10 minutes in between each hour to give yourself short breaks as you work.
BE KIND TO YOUR FUTURE SELF.
As humans, the here and now counts so much more to our brains than the future. Research has shown that we actually go so far as to consider our future self as a completely separate entity from our current self. The comic below illustrates this concept perfectly.
So, why not reframe this information in a way that helps us combat procrastination? Try to begin imagining your future self as a dear friend or loved one for who you want all the best and that you’re going to see soon. All of your bad habits, including procrastination, counts as your friend doing you a favor. The bigger the impact your habits have on your friend, the bigger the favor he or she is doing you. Try to keep your “friend” in mind as you go about your daily life and start attempting to do “the right thing” instead of leeching off of him or her. Make your future self rather than your current self your first priority.
The temptation to procrastinate unfortunately will never end. However, we can take steps to make that voice in our heads telling us to play another hour of a video game or watch another episode of a show on Netflix be a little quieter. I hope the suggestions I’ve made in this entry have given you some ideas and strategies that will help you improve your ability to combat procrastination.
I’d really love to hear your feedback. What are some helpful tips you use in your everyday life to stop procrastinating and get things done?