Beating Procrastination

Let’s be honest. There are too many of us that procrastinate and wish that we didn’t. This usually happens a little too late.

Procrastination has been claimed to be a form of self-defence from failure. We’re so scared to fail, we do the one thing we’re not supposed to do – avoid working.

As procrastinators, we seem to think that this is it. This is the life for us. We will continue to procrastinate and continue to fail.

It really doesn’t have to be like that.

It’s one thing being a procrastinator. It’s another thing to give up to procrastination.

If you care about your work and studies, then that means you can beat procrastination. You really can. If you’re determined to get your work done on time, feel confident that you’ve done your best, and you want to get the highest grades you can possibly achieve, then you’re determined to beat procrastination.

So, here’s some advice from a fellow procrastinator.

Advice 1: list your objectives

Making a list of your objectives will allow you to see all the things you need to complete. Actually seeing your goals will make you feel more motivated to complete them.

You should strive to tick objectives off from your list once you’ve completed them.

You might even want to add a deadline date so you can work to completing your goals by a certain date. A deadline, however, is not necessary. Find what is comfortable for you.

Advice 2: write down your goal

Write down on a paper what grades you want to achieve by the end of the year or what you want to succeed in.

Then tape that paper to your wall or have it on your desk. Just put it somewhere where you can see it every day.

When you don’t feel like wanting study or work and you’re tempted to procrastinate, looking at that goal in front of you will remind you that procrastinating will not achieve that goal. Working right here, right now, will.

Advice 3: reward yourself

Work out a reward system. See if you can involve your parents into this as well.

Have a system where, every time you achieve one of your goals (e.g. getting the grade you wanted), you’re rewarded for it.

What the reward is could depend on how important significant the achievement is.

If you have gotten over 90% in a class test, you might want to treat yourself to a day out with friends or a have a relaxing bubble bath.

You might want to ask your parents to reward you with something like a family trip or a new phone or bonus pocket money if you get 3 A’s in your exam results.

Work out a reward system that works for you. This will help you keep motivated to work harder and to achieve both your goals and the rewards that come with it!

Advice 4: countdown to free time

As procrastinators, every time we sit down to work, our mind starts buzzing with ideas of all the things we could be doing instead of studying. We usually fall into this tempation and end up missing out on valuable study time.

Instead, have a notepad beside you. When you’re studying and that little nagging voice in your head says you could be something much more interesting like knitting, write down what it is that you want to do in your notepad.

If you feel like sorting out your pens, write it down on your notepad. If you want to suddenly write some fantastic poetry, write it down on your notepad. Then get back to studying.

When you’ve finished studying and you have free time, you can flick through your notepad and see the list of things you can now do.

This means you won’t suddenly want to switch to another task while studying, and you will still have something to look forward to after you finish your study session.

Advice 5: work out a study plan

If you know you have half an hour to spend on a Monday evening, turn it into a study session.

You don’t have to work long hours for it to be considered a study session. Any moment you pick in the day to study is considered a study session. Having a quick look over notes in the bus on your way to school is a study session. Sitting in the library, reviweing flashcards for ten minutes during lunchtime is a study session.

Don’t think you have to spend an extremely long time studying. That’s what makes us procrastinate. We think we need lots of long hours when we don’t.

Think about studying at every small opportunity you have. Think about reviewing one page from your Biology booklet every morning and every night. It doesn’t seem much like studying, but every little helps.

So work out a plan. Maybe give yourself half an hour break after school, then study for half an hour, then give yourself a fifteen minute break, then study for another half an hour. From that, you’ve already given yourself an hour’s worth of studying in a day. If you keep doing that every day, you can get 7 hour’s worth of studying in a week, at the very least. You might want to add an extra hour during the weekends.

Wow. Look at that. From just doing a little bit of studying every now and then, you’ve already gotten so much done. Procrastination has got nothing over you.

Advice 6: take advantage of breaks + holidays

They are the perfect time to sit down and do some intense studying without worrying too much about school. It’s a great time to catch up with any notes you’ve missed and you can still relax while working hard!

During school breaks, split your day into three parts: morning, afternoon, evening. You want to accomplish 3 hour’s worth of studying in a day.

When you get up in the morning, have your breakfast and then do half an hour of study. Take a fifteen minute break. Then do another half an hour of study.

In the afternoon, after lunch, do half an hour of study. Take a fifteen minute break. Then another half an hour of study.

In the evening, after dinner, do half an hour of study. Take a fifteen minute break. Then another half an hour of study.

There. 3 hours of study in a day. Now think about how much work you’re going to get done in your entire holiday!

Working during your holidays can seem annoying, but think of it this way. All your hard work and effort will pay off during exam time, and then you have the whole summer holidays to relax in peace of mind, knowing you’ve done your best in your exams, without any regrets. It’s a small price to pay for good grades!

Advice 7: productive study session

You don’t want to sit there just reading over your textbook again and again. Firstly, that’s boring and repetitive. Secondly, you’re not going to retain anything in your memory that way.

You can make your study methods more active and fun! Yes, because learning is fun! So believe it!

There are so many weird and wonderful ways to learn things. From something as basic as colour-coding and highlighting notes, all the way to marking your hand with watercolour paint to learn different muscles in the hand. Be creative! That’s what procrastinators are great at doing!

Your class discussed the photosynthesis equation today? Make a cool-looking flashcard! You finally realised the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite? Draw a spider diagram! The possibilities are endless! Get creative! Make it fun!

Your study methods are dependent on what kind of learner you are. If you’re a visual learner, colours and diagrams might be more of your thing. If you’re an acoustic learner, you might want to record yourself summarising topics and then playing the recording back to yourself while you’re in the bus or doing work around the house. You might have more than one learning style so try different things and see what methods work most effectively for you.

The studyblr community is great for this. Everyone has a different studying method. Some prefer highlighting textbooks and sticky notes, while others like making flashcards packed with diagrams and summarised notes.

Have a look at some studyblrs and how they study. Maybe you might want to try a few different methods yourself and see what works for you!

Helpful Links


 1. What makes you procrastinate?

Common answers would be social media, TV programmes or video games. The truth is that everything becomes interesting when you’re avoiding work. However, that is not the cause of the problem. A few things that actually cause procrastination are:

  • Ambiguous tasks
  • Tasks that we perceive as difficult or unattractive
    (ex: I don’t know how to do it, It’s too hard, It will take a long time)
  • Simultaneous deadlines
  • Attitudes of others
    (role models - studyblr community - who encourage you to work and be productive VS. friends/other students who may be slackers and normalise procrastination, assuring you that it’s no problem if you leave your work until the last minute)
  • Poor time management 
  • An inability to prioritise
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the task

Keep reading

Hands down THE best article on procrastination I have ever found

I have struggled with procrastination pretty much all my life - such is the fate of the lazy and ambitious - but never, ever has an article spoken to me like this. 
He gets it. He’s one of us. And he’s seen through it.
Tim, I don’t know you, but you seem awesome and

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Here’s Part One and Two and an excerpt:

In college, the sudden unbridled personal freedom was a disaster for me—I did nothing, ever, for any reason. The one exception was that I had to hand in papers from time to time. I would do those the night before, until I realized I could just do them through the night, and I did that until I realized I could actually start them in the early morning on the day they were due. This behavior reached caricature levels when I was unable to start writing my 90-page senior thesis until 72 hours before it was due, an experience that ended with me in the campus doctor’s office learning that lack of blood sugar was the reason my hands had gone numb and curled up against my will. (I did get the thesis in—no, it was not good.)
To understand why procrastinators procrastinate so much, let’s start by understanding a non-procrastinator’s brain:

Pretty normal, right? Now, let’s look at a procrastinator’s brain:

Notice anything different?It seems the Rational Decision-Maker in the procrastinator’s brain is coexisting with a pet—the Instant Gratification Monkey.This would be fine—cute, even—if the Rational Decision-Maker knew the first thing about how to own a monkey. But unfortunately, it wasn’t a part of his training and he’s left completely helpless as the monkey makes it impossible for him to do his job.

The fact is, the Instant Gratification Monkey is the last creature who should be in charge of decisions—he thinks only about the present, ignoring lessons from the past and disregarding the future altogether, and he concerns himself entirely with maximizing the ease and pleasure of the current moment. He doesn’t understand the Rational Decision-Maker any better than the Rational Decision-Maker understands him—why would we continue doing this jog, he thinks, when we could stop, which would feel better. Why would we practice that instrument when it’s not fun? Why would we ever use a computer for work when the internet is sitting right there waiting to be played with? He thinks humans are insane.

In the monkey world, he’s got it all figured out—if you eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, and don’t do anything difficult, you’re a pretty successful monkey. The problem for the procrastinator is that he happens to live in the human world, making the Instant Gratification Monkey a highly unqualified navigator. Meanwhile, the Rational Decision-Maker, who was trained to make rational decisions, not to deal with competition over the controls, doesn’t know how to put up an effective fight—he just feels worse and worse about himself the more he fails and the more the suffering procrastinator whose head he’s in berates him.

It’s a mess.

And with the monkey in charge, the procrastinator finds himself spending a lot of time in a place called the Dark Playground.
The Dark Playground is a place every procrastinator knows well. It’s a place where leisure activities happen at times when leisure activities are not supposed to be happening. The fun you have in the Dark Playground isn’t actually fun because it’s completely unearned and the air is filled with guilt, anxiety, self-hatred, and dread. Sometimes the Rational Decision-Maker puts his foot down and refuses to let you waste time doing normal leisure things, and since the Instant Gratification Monkey sure as hell isn’t gonna let you work, you find yourself in a bizarre purgatory of weird activities where everyone loses.

And the poor Rational Decision-Maker just mopes, trying to figure out how he let the human he’s supposed to be in charge of end up here again.

I know, right? It’s like he read your mind.  
I definitely recommend reading the whole article if you want to get out of the Dark Playground.