Has your butt ever been adhered to the couch? Mind has. For like 12 hours. Last night. Until 4:30 in the morning. What is wrong with me?
I am a no-holds-barred procrastinator through and through. I always make plans to be better but never follow through. Why? I don’t know. I guess I like the challenge of trying to create something of quality in one night that my professors say is impossible. In fact, I wrote a 15-page midterm the day before it was due in less than six hours and I earned an A.
I guess you could say that I like a challenge.
Anywho, procrastination. I said I was going to better in graduate school, damn it. I even made plans to have a daily schedule like my professors suggested and I planned on reading all of the readings and I planned on completing my assignments in advance.
Did I? If I had would I have been glued to the same spot on my couch until 4:30 in the morning sucking down energy drinks and pecking away furiously at my poor computer’s keyboard?
I said I’d be better in graduate school. I was awful in undergrad. I even did my entire senior project the night before it was due.
Why am I telling you this? Because may you are a procrastinator and maybe you want to change that. Although they haven’t helped all that much, here’s what’s helped me somewhat anyhow.
- The dreaded to-do list: Yes, the awful to-do list actually helps. I often add way too many items to my list because I decide I need to clean and read for class and complete all of my upcoming assignments and complete some freelance projects all on the same day. But there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of crossing items off your to-do list. Make checking an item off your to-do list part of your to-do list. BOOM. You’re already on your way to productivity.
- The dreaded schedule: Why do I dread making a schedule? Because I feel like I have to stick to it 100% and something always comes along that messes up one of my time slots (some spur-of-the-moment meeting for an assistantship or group project or something). When one of my time slots gets messed up, I immediately throw the whole schedule out the window. Don’t be like me. Even if a time slot for productivity gets interrupted, keep to the rest of the schedule you’ve set and you’ll be on your way to productivity in no time.
- Try out some productivity apps: I have a couple apps on my phone centered on productivity. They allow me to plan out my schedule and set time limits for working on various tasks. An alarm goes off when a time limit is up and alerts me of the next task and starts counting down the time. Having little reminders like these really help out to get you moving on the next task you need to accomplish.
- Break up the tasks: Don’t sit down and crank out a 25 page paper in 12 hours straight like I did. Just don’t. Use apps or some other time limit and set each task you work on for about 30-45 minutes, take a break, and go on to the next task. Give your brain a break now and then and don’t fry it by working on one task for too long.
- Reward yourself: That’s right. Use that schedule you made and schedule in some time for a Netflix binge-watching session or to eat a whole pint of ice cream. Did you finish an assignment early? Bake yourself a cake. Or buy one from the store if you’re not a good cook. Did you clean your apartment (or at least pick your clothes up off your bedroom floor)? Go have a drink with friends or cuddle with your dog. Reward yourself for your accomplishments and you’ll be productive in no time.
I hope these five steps help you to not procrastinate and get stuff done. My supervisor for one of graduate assistantships has “G.S.D.” written on her wall to remind her to “Get S(tuff) Done.”
Just do it and get it over with so you don’t have to struggle to complete everything you need to accomplish.
What are you still doing here? Go get some stuff done! (Or watch Netflix. Either one.)
(Image Sources: Photographers in the order the photographs appear are Jonathan Velasquez, Jake Hills, and Patrik Goethe. Images retrieved from www.unsplash.com)