How to Stop Procrastinating Right Now
Do you happen to be part of the eighty to ninety-five percent of students that identify as “chronic procrastinators?” Are you reading this article because you’ve been putting off a task and finally feel the pressure? Welcome, you’ve come to the right place.
Procrastination always starts with a lie. You tell yourself things like, “I’ll have more than enough time to finish that paper tomorrow.” You tell yourself this lie because you want to do other, more enjoyable things, such as playing video games, hanging out with your friends, or simply watching hours of random YouTube videos.
Whatever your distraction of choice may be, it always seems to triumph over the tasks you need to get done that day to avoid anxiety, negative self-talk, and bad grades. Listen, with all of the technology available to us— it’s easy to slip into a social media black hole before realizing that you haven’t even touched your homework.
Want to learn how to stop procrastinating and get to work? This article will help transform you from a serial procrastinator to a productive student who easily meets deadlines. Keep reading for proven strategies on how to overcome procrastination.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
So often, we hear people say things like, “the key to overcoming procrastination is just to get started on your work!” Well, duh. Most procrastinators would genuinely like to get the ball rolling, but it feels like some mysterious force holds them back.
Before we get into how to stop procrastinating, let us get to why we procrastinate.
The key to identifying why you procrastinate is knowing what type of procrastinator you are. Procrastinators can fall into six categories: the dreamer, the perfectionist, the over-doer, the crisis-maker, the worrier, and the defier.
Most people procrastinate not because they don’t care but often because they care a little too much. Fear of failure is a common cause of procrastination. You want to do well but feel intimidated by the work you have to do to get there. Ironically, perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand.
When you’re a perfectionist, you hold yourself to extremely high standards, which leads to an incredible pressure to get things done and get them done perfectly. The thought process can be something like, “if I can’t do this right, I won’t do it at all.” Wanting to do a flawless assignment can make you feel paralyzed when you want to start. Changing your intention from “this has to be perfect” to “I want to do the best I can” can help alleviate some of that pressure.
Perfectionists often know how much effort a task will take and feel overwhelmed by the details and steps needed to complete their assignment.
The dreamer procrastinates because they are not good with details and find it hard to take concrete steps towards achieving a goal.
The dreamer may spend most of the time leading up to a deadline, imagining how to make their assignment unique instead of thinking about how long these things will take. When they finally try to tie it all together, they find it impossible to get it all done on time.
Worriers fear risk, criticism, and difficulty. This type may worry about the outcome, such as their grade or the feedback they may receive, so they would rather not start at all.
Have you ever said, “I work best under pressure?” Then you’re probably the crisis-maker. This type feels like they thrive on the anxiety and adrenaline of starting work last minute. The reality is, even if you think you’re doing well, you could be doing better if you gave yourself plenty of time to complete assignments.
To this type, it only feels like you’re doing great at your assignment because of the time constraint. This type struggles to get started on work and can’t maintain a flow once they start working without the perceived risk.
The defier does not like being told what to do. For example, the person who misses a deadline for a simple art class assignment because they feel it’s silly or unnecessary. The defier likes to feel in control of their schedule and only do things they think are interesting or important.
Defiers may try to negotiate due dates and ask questions such as “why should I do this assignment?”
Are you the kind of person who is juggling a lot at once? For example, do you have a part-time job, are on the soccer team, participate in school clubs, and often find time to hang out with your friends? You may be the over-doer.
This procrastination happens just when you simply do not have the time to do everything you’ve agreed to do. The over-doer may intentionally make themselves busy to avoid doing what is most important.
Tips on How to Overcome Procrastination
Whatever your procrastination style is, there is a solution to overcome those challenges. Here are proven tips on how to break the procrastination cycle and get stuff done:
Make a List
List making is a tried and true method to organize your thoughts and layout what steps to take to finish an assignment. Break down tasks into a step-by-step list and start on the one that excites you the most or the one that is the easiest to do.
This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the overall assignment because you have a visual guide of what you need to do to meet your goals. For instance, if you have an essay due, you can set a date to plan, a day to research, multiple days to write, and a day to edit.
Set Deadlines for Yourself
Setting personal deadlines means setting smaller deadlines for yourself before the actual deadline so that you can break down your work into manageable steps. For instance, if you have an essay due, you can set a date to plan, a day to research, multiple days to write, and a day to edit.
Setting your own deadlines before your main one can help you work at your own pace and still turn in your work on time.
Try The Pomodoro Technique
The technique is simple: You set a timer, work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. After doing this about five times, you’re able to take a longer break that lasts up to 20 minutes. This is an effective way to get work done because it establishes a sense of urgency. It also helps to know that you’ll be working in 25-minute bursts with the promise of a break.
Work Somewhere That Inspires You
Where you study can affect how much you retain and how motivated you are. If you’re working in a noisy, unorganized environment, chances are your work will be a reflection of that. Set up a calm, aesthetically pleasing space, and get rid of distractions.
Working somewhere new can also increase productivity because the novelty of a new experience increases dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that promotes motivation and focus.
The hardest part of getting stuff done is finding the motivation to get started. Not only should you reward yourself when you achieve certain milestones in your work, but you should set up a small award for yourself as soon as you get started.
For example, get your favorite snack and have it next to you in your study space. Only eat it once you’ve gotten started on your homework or project. Reward yourself for the momentum you’ve built.
Once you’re done working for the day, reward yourself with some screen time. Watch your favorite show, play video games, or chat with friends.
Ask For Help
Holding yourself accountable is hard work, and some people do well with some accountability partners to keep them on track. Study groups and tutoring sessions can be two tremendously helpful ways of overcoming procrastination.
Using a resource such as Schoolhouse.world can help you stay on track. We are an entirely free peer-to-peer tutoring service that helps students succeed. Our tutors help foster a sense of community, increase motivation to achieve academic goals, and provide step-by-step solutions for homework in various subjects, including college prep.
How do you overcome procrastination? By signing up with us today!
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