Procrastination is something many students and young adults fall victim too. It usually happens in one of two ways. They get find themselves with a deadline for a project, put it off and end up having to rush it last minute. The second way is an appointment or a similar social engagement that you put off getting ready for because you’d rather go through your youtube subscriptions.
In other words, the root of procrastination is distraction. It can be argued that motivation is a co-root, but a lot of times, motivation can easily be altered by the more dominant root, a distraction.
How to Overcome Procrastination
It’s actually pretty simple to overcome procrastination itself. All you need is a simple daily structure. It can be a to do list ranking most important tasks of the day to the most lesser ones or it can be a daily time table where you assign appointment times for each of your activities. Either way, having some sort of rigid structure for your day can keep you more efficient in the long run.
Environment is also an extremely important factor when it comes to procrastination and motivation. Let’s say you’re a student. You come home tired from a long day at school. You spent a few rough hours listening to boring lectures and taking notes. Now that you’re home, it’s hard to keep that motivation up. Your bed is right there, the TV is in your vicinity, all your favorite snacks are a stone throw away. There is a lot of “enabling” around you. You’re VERY likely to sit down and watch some TV while munching on your favorite snack. Eventually, you fall into a nap, wake up later in the evening and don’t even feel like doing your homework.
Let’s change your environment and see how much of a difference it makes. Imagine now instead of going home, you walk down to a coffee shop or a library. You’re still kind of in “school mode” so you rip out your books and just finish the homework. Now when you get home, there is no more stress on your shoulders. You’ve met all your responsibilities for the day. You can relax and entertain yourself all day long.
Using Procrastination to your Advantage
Avoiding procrastination is a fantastic way to make yourself more productive and efficient in the long run, but there are ways to use it to your advantage. Parkinson’s Law is a fantastic principle that is shortly summarized as “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. What does that mean? Well, if you have a long time to finish something, it’ll usually take you a long time to finish it. This is mainly due to the lack of pressure behind the task. Not only that, but now you can easily add a lot of filler content and fluff up whatever project your working on simply because you have the luxury of time.
Doing things last minute can leave you stressed and can likely lead to mistakes, but planning to leave things to the last minute can help you work more efficiently. One way to do this is to save a large project until it’s very close to the due date. It doesn’t mean sit there and don’t think about it until the day it’s due. You can buy the material, gather the research, etc. That’s all fine to prepare. The project itself however, can be saved until it’s closer to the actually due date. Now you only have enough time to focus on the main point and do just enough to get it done.
You can take this even further and set a timer for yourself. Imagine setting a timer for yourself in the gym. You’d probably finish the same workouts in half the time. If you know you’re under a time constraint, then you’re less likely to talk about all the awesome new supplements with your buddy at the water cooler and just focus most of your main objective, working out.