So, You've Procrastinated Again?

If you’ve ever been a student or ever been told to do something, you’ve probably procrastinated at least once. Some people, myself included, are more chronic strugglers of waiting till the last second and letting the clock inch too close for comfort to the due date. Whether if you like working under that kind of stress or not, it’s clear to see that it’s not good for you or for the product you’re producing. In this article, I hope to give you some tips for when you realized that you’ve messed up and need to get this all done fast and hopefully some tips to get you out of the habit for next time.

  1. 1. Make a list

    I learned this one at a very young age from my dad. If you feel overwhelmed with how many things you have to do, make a list. Write it all down so you can visualize it and then as you complete it, check off the boxes one by one, or strike through the item entirely. Lists can help you see that you are accomplishing things and help you appreciate the smaller steps towards the large goal.

    An example of this would be, oh I don't know, writing an article. My to-do list might look something like this:

    - Come up with an idea

    - Write the teaser text

    - Write five to ten ideas for the content

    - Find pictures or gifs

    - Come up with the title

    Now the giant scary goal has been split down into easier tasks. It seems a lot more possible to do each of these little steps than to actually do the entire project.

  2. 2. Eliminate distractions

    You’re the one who decided to wait till the last minute, so distractions are no longer allowed. If you want your phone for audio, fine. But have it plugged in across the room or use Bluetooth speakers or headphones. Do not have friends come over. If they do, you know you’ll end up chatting to them and a quick conversation will turn into an hour. Sometimes you just have to lock yourself in a study room in the library and not come out until the next day.

  3. 3. Celebrate the small victories and take breaks

    If you are working on a larger project, an essay, for example, it's ok to take a moment and congratulate yourself. You can think “wow I’ve gotten a whole page done I’m pretty great.” Go get a glass of water or take a quick walk down the hall to get your blood flowing. But make sure to go right back to work. Little victories do not mean you celebrate by wasting 60+ minutes on YouTube. Little victories are meant to help you keep pushing to finish!

  4. 4. Stop and actually think about your work

    Don’t rush just to get it done. Take time to really make sure you’re putting in the best effort that you can at this time. It’s not going to be an amazing paper if you’re writing it during the wee hours of the morning, but that doesn’t mean it has to be horrible. Still, give what you’re working on your best effort. You still want it to be good, don’t you?

  5. 5. Just do it. Seriously. You've waited long enough.

    No amount of tips and tricks are going to make this project go away and make it do itself. Eventually, you have to just roll up your sleeves, pull back your hair, and get to work. The grind isn’t going to be fun, it never is, but the sooner you start the sooner it's over. To help make the environment a little more fun, play some music (as long as it doesn’t distract you) or get a glass of your favorite drink. Sit down and type that paper. Get up and finish that house project. Do the thing. It’s not going to finish itself.

Now that you have those five little tips for next time, I think its time for me to remind you: Procrastination. Is. Bad. It’s not good for the product and it’s not good for you. I’m not saying you have to go out and write your thesis the moment you get the approval, but do try to take it one step at a time. Make the list of things you need to do and try to get one done here, another two there. Taking it apart will help you really succeed and make the best product that you can! Not to mention that your anxiety and sleep with both appreciate it so much.

Now go. I know there seem to be a million end of the year projects and tests and readings. But take it one step at a time. And I promise you, you’ll survive.