I love procrastinating. I love it! I can think of literally a million things to do before completing whatever tiny or big other thing is necessary. Examples: Need to read assigned articles for school? Not before I Lysol the bathroom shower! Gather a couple documents for taxes? Not before I organize photos from 2009! Must be out of the house at any time for anything? Not before I iron some shirts I don’t intend on wearing! What a fun spiral, right? I’ve been on this roller coaster since in high school (maybe birth??) and it’s a joy ride that never slows down and doesn’t go anywhere. Like, I may not be prepared for class tomorrow, but you better believe I soaked my retainer in denture cleaner this morning.
A common trait procrastinators exhibit is that we love blaming our shortcomings on anything but ourselves. Nothing is ever my fault and I’m never sure why people don’t get that. It’s not my fault that I’m late or that I have to stay up until midnight to complete an assignment. The reasons those two things happened yesterday are 1) a school bus unloaded four kids at once, one with a trombone, and I had to stop for it, and 2) I had to read the entire class discussion board IN FULL (roughly 80 threads) before I could even think of reading the assignment instructions. See what I mean?
Whenever I procrastinate a task and then end up feeling bad (daily), I wonder why I’m special like this. Surely I don’t do it to myself?!?? And why is my twin sister not as good at this as I am? I guess she can’t be the artist, the creative one, the popular one, the one with the good hair, and the procrastinator. As suggested by Slate, procrastination is potentially half genetic (I’m looking at you, mom). Can’t say I never won anything!
So anyways, as it’s a new year and a new month and I’m living my best life, and I’ve got a couple tips to aid in a procrastination crisis. Before we begin though, I should disclose that I haven’t tried all of these yet. Loljkjk that would have been the OLD ME! Ok here we go:
- Understand that you are in charge of your procrastination.
- Understand that doing what you gotta do will make you feel like a champion.
- Put your phone in a different room. I cannot tell you how incredibly effective this is. At first I was like, “I don’t even look at my phone that much. I am definitely in enough control over my habits to have it right here by my mouse.” HA! I don’t think there’s anyone left on the planet that has control of their phone use. When I put my phone in another room, not only do I do the things that are necessary, I am always pleasantly surprised to see how popular I feel when I’ve got push notifications to look at. It’s a goldmine of rewards!
- Let’s say you can’t handle not being by your phone, or you have a little nugget at daycare and need to have your phone nearby for safety. Try the Forest App. This app costs $1.99, which at first made me think “absolutely not will I buy that, I don’t pay for apps, who do they think they are” but I can go find $1.99 in my couch right now and can you really put a price on a calm mind?? You can’t. Alternative: use it as an Add-On in Firefox fo freeeee. This app “plants” a forest while you work, as long as you don’t open any other apps on your phone/open other webpages in your browser. If you open anything in search of distractions, you kill your trees!! If you make it to 25 minutes distraction-free, you can continue building your forest.
- Not into trees? Try using a Pomodoro timer (there are many different apps and add-ins you can use for this, or you can simply set a regular-old timer). This method is vaguely related to, but not to be confused with, pomodoro sauce in Italian dishes. The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s and is a time management system that breaks work into 25 minute chunks (just like the Forest App, without the digital forest), followed by a discretionary time block of reward. The 25-minute segments are called pomodoros, which is in reference to the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by the guy who came up with it (pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian). I learned about this method in my Learning How to Learn class, from the great professor Barbara Oakley. If Barbara can teach herself Russian and advanced engineering using this technique, surely I can use it to simply focus up.
Have you used any of these techniques with success? Got any others to share? Let me know in the comments!