2/06/2015 08:49:00 pm

Procrastination and how to work around it

I have loads of work waiting to be done with their own datelines this week: An essay and a writing exercise for English; several chapters of worksheets for Maths; couple of exam-style questions for Physics and Chemistry;  a worksheet and reading for Biology; two essays,  a bunch new chapters of exercises, and a truckload of corrections for Chinese. 

Not to mention: reading the study guide and researching for FUNMUN; listening to a list of piano pieces and deciding which ones are nice, then trying them out at home for ATCL Diploma; chores....

Sounds horribly tiring and burden-some? 

And look at me- watching a couple of stuff, recording and uploading two piano covers on Youtube (Click here). What is this called? Procrastination. 

  1. the action of delaying or postponing something.

So, procrastination. My worst enemy. But somehow my pastime.

Most of us (including myself) start with the good intentions, but our energy and concentration doesn't last all the way.

I have tried (while procrastinating) googling up 'How to stop procrastinating' and generally gotten several (not so helpful for me) answers:

-Eliminate distractions. Well if you mean turning off my computer to stop me from blogging, or reading stuff, instead of typing up an essay on my computer, which doesn't even make sense. Or putting away my phone, which I already did. 

-Breaking down tasks into small steps (and) put datelines. I guess this one isn't really that un-practical, but since I already do that, I don't admit that this tip was useful.

-Rearranging your study space. Nah... first, I'll just procrastinate on that- it's just too much work, and what if I don't have space to move around or anything? Maybe I can just clear up the obvious rubbish on my table and put my books and pencils back into their places, but I'll procrastinate on that too.

-Hanging out with someone that creates inspiration. Er... unless you can get me an appointment with (so-and-so who is horribly successful), it's not going to happen. And also this doesn't seem like a very practical nor useful tool. 

-Have a buddy to work with you. Again, this is more of a distraction... I don't know, because your friends want to talk?!?!! 

-Get a grip and just do it. Seriously! Do you not get why I visited your page-I wanted solutions to my procrastination problem, not just to get a Nike slogan! I want to know how to do it, not just you insisting to do it. You get me?

So I have come up with a couple of ideas on how to motivate yourself, and also at the same time, stop (or reduce) procrastination: 

1. Write them down as a to-do list, and write down the dateline of each task. 
For example, I have a planner for 2015,  a week on two pages. When this work/assignment/project is handed to you, write them down (hopefully in a specific homework notebook or planner so you won't lose it) and write the dateline. Start planning when you want to do parts of it (if it's a large piece of assignment, or say, position paper and research for Model United Nations) to fit the dateline. Plan your work some time before the dateline, in case something happens and prevents you from doing the work on that specified day.

If you have tasks which have no dateline or are not as urgent, put them on a list of urgent-ness and important-ness. If you don't do it today, would your grades/life be affected? By how much and to what extent?

2.  When you notice that you're not focusing and keep getting distracted, there are some tips: 
a. Take a shower to rejuvenate (is that the correct term) yourself, and make your mind focused. 
b. If a. is not possible (maybe you're in the library or somehow your toilet's flooding), go to the sink and wash your face. If you want, can use some facial wash to make your face (and brain) squeaky clean. 
c. Have a couple of mints. Or sugar-free mint gum could work. Scientific research has shown that mints increase productivity and focus of the mind. 
d. Take a nap. Less than 20-min power nap could help your brain recharge and refresh your mind. However make sure you wake up after 20 mins and don't sleep for 3-4 hours!
e. Take a break. Sometimes it's just that your brain has been overworked. In that case, go for a maximum 20 mins break, if you can afford it.

3.  Find some motivations and bargain with yourself.  
Let's say you want to watch this movie, read this book,  get a snack, or simply just go play some ball with your mates. Make it a goal- if I finish this list of homework 1-5, I can watch a movie on my computer. Finish this maths worksheet and get a cookie. Finish my work for the day and go play soccer or cycle outside, if I finish before the sun goes down.

4.  Anticipate the consequences of procrastinating doing that work or not even doing it. You spend the last day before the dateline staying up and rushing? Did you remember how desperate you were, or how tired you were while trying to finish the work on time? Maybe this is not the first time you've put off something and in the end you couldn't finish it.  What happened when you didn't complete the work at all? Did you get a scolding? Or a punishment from your teacher or boss? 

Of course, you can add music to help you focus. But there are specific tunes and beats and stuff for it to work. I'm reading this book called Your Playlist Can Change Your Life and after I'm done with it I may just share some pointers and important facts.  Right now, to play safe, you can listen to various types of lyric-less music that you know have an effect on you. 

Hope the above advice helped. I'm hoping it helped me. 

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