From One Procrastinator to Another

 9 simple ways to trick yourself into being productive

Yup, it’s that time of year again. We’re all tired, it’s dark at 5 p.m., and finals are approaching far too fast. If you’re anything like me, you probably just want to crawl into bed until winter break rolls around. You might even be procrastinating something as you’re reading this article. But, it’s crunch time baby! So, from one procrastinator to another, here are a few ways I trick myself into being productive that might work for you too.

1. Make a to do list with little goals.

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This may sound super basic, but it’s actually really helpful. I love to be able to check things off. It makes me feel like I’ve actually accomplished something even if it is just “write the introduction” or “dry the dishes.” 

2. Set your bed.

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A long time ago I heard that setting your bed in the morning -- or if you’re me, whenever you get around to it -- helps get the ball rolling to complete other tasks. Basically, it’s something small that makes you feel productive and makes you want to do other productive things. So far, it’s been working pretty well for me. Plus it makes you look super put together. 

3. Work in segments.

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One of the best ways I manage to work through my to do list is to take little breaks after each task that match the intensity of the task. For example, cleaning your desk earns a five-minute break, but finishing a paper calls for a 45-minute break. It helps keep you energized while still getting a lot accomplished.

4. Take a walk.

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Even though it’s starting to get cold out, it’s best to take advantage of what little warmth we have left and take a little walk outside during a break. Sometimes it’s nice to get some fresh air instead of staring at the same four walls. Even if it’s not totally feasible to go outside for a walk, try just getting up and stretching your legs. It helps to get the blood flowing, and stops you from wanting to just fall asleep right then and there. 

5. Work from most to least important.

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To me the most important means due the soonest, but everyone has different priority levels. The idea behind this is that all of the things that absolutely need to get done will get done, and if you run out of time or procrastinate too hard, then it won’t be the end of the world if the less important things don’t get accomplished. 

6. Put on your favorite songs.

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This works best if you have a playlist for studying, but if you don't, it's no problem. Put on some songs that get you pumped up, but not so much that you want to sing along. This is so you aren’t too distracted. It’s also best if you keep the volume low, so you can focus on the tasks at hand.

7. Put that phone down.

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This is one of the most important tips, no matter how obvious it seems. Even if you’re listening to your music through your headphones, make sure that you can’t see your phone or any of the notifications you might get. I know that if I don’t do this, I get sucked into my phone for an embarrassingly long time as opposed to getting important work done. It’s best to keep it out of sight and out of mind. 

8. Get comfy.

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Get ready to settle in for a while, throw on your favorite sweatpants and brew some coffee or tea, whatever you need to do. Being comfortable helps you just focus on your work, as opposed to how your cute jeans are digging into your stomach. There are plenty of other times to look your best, so don’t stress about it now. 

9. Grab some snacks.

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Having a few healthy and filling snacks on hand is never a bad idea. This prevents you from needing to go out to get food and stops you from being frazzled by a growling stomach. Don’t forget about your body’s health amidst your work. Take a little time to find some yummy and healthy snacks to keep you energized.