I’ll do it... Tomorrow.
Procrastination prevents you from following through on what you’ve set out to do. In most cases, you’re just putting off the inevitable: studying, doing assignments and essays, taking out the trash, combing your hair before birds nest in it... This means you usually leave things to the last minute and have to make up random excuses for why you didn’'t get things done, both to others and yourself. And this will just stress you out more!
Yes, it’s easy to feel unmotivated, especially when it comes to dealing with the everyday slog of school, TAFE or university. As you’re pretty much your own boss you get to dictate when, where and how you get your work done. Sounds great, right? But it becomes way easier to procrastinate if someone isn’t actually checking up on you.
There are many roads to procrastination: you might not be in the right head space or enjoying your chosen course, you could be feeling overwhelmed with your workload or even just bored. You’'re not going to prioritise something you don't enjoy, so it’s easy to just switch off and scroll away your time on Instagram.
The thing is, you DO need to get stuff done. So here are some tips to help you wave goodbye to procrastination and get your motivation mojo back.
1. Eliminate distractions
That means you, mobile phone! When you need to concentrate for long periods of time (such as while studying or writing an essay), remove the temptation of your phone by leaving it in another room on airplane mode, so that you can’t hear the buzz and bings of messages coming in. If you really need to focus, give your phone to your mum or a (good! trustworthy!) friend to hold on to.
2. Set deadlines
Set yourself achievable goals within a specific timeframe to help you get your work done. Breaking your work down into less-daunting chunks and completing them step-by-step is an effective way of dealing with big challenges and powering through your To Do-list. It also helps if you reward yourself for each task you complete. Rewards could include catching up with a friend for a bit, de-stressing at the gym or playing with your dog in the park.
3. Work when you feel most alert and efficient
Are you a morning person or night owl? Build your timetable around what works best for you. Trying to study late into the night when you feel exhausted will get you nowhere! And there’s no point to waking up super early if you’re just going to procrastinate all morning until you feel ready to study. Listen to your body and work when you are on top of your game.
4. Motivation and positivity is key, so maybe it’s time to change up your perspective on tasks?
We read something really cool this morning and it went a little bit like this:
“Try replacing “I’m sorry” with “thank you”.
So instead of saying “I’m sorry I was late” say “thank you for waiting for me”.
Replacing negativity with positivity and gratitude breaks the “I’m sorry” cycle.
This in itself is powerful. Imagine if you could flip your mind into a positive place prior to starting your studies or assignments. If you could think of the positives about furthering your education then each task takes you one step closer to your ultimate life goals. With a motivated and positive mindset, procrastination will become a thing of the past.
5. Reward yourself
You already overcome procrastination occasionally, right? Sometimes you have the willpower, you have the strength, and you get it done. Now, simply reinforce this behaviour. From this moment going forward, every single time you overcome the urge to procrastinate, every single time you manage to follow through, every single time you get something done, reward yourself. Rewards can be anything from internal praise, keeping an accomplishment list, or giving yourself some time off from studying to do something that makes you feel good and that’s just for you.
Yes, procrastinating sucks, but beating yourself up over it only makes things worse. Instead, learn the ways of self-compassion. Create an environment that fosters growth and high achievement and you will be on your way to making procrastination a thing of the past!