This is long overdue. I’ve actually had this idea for quite a while. But in true Via fashion, I procrastinated on this article. Now we can spend hours making a list on why I put things off for the last minute, but rather than go into detail about that, let me share something I found online (while I was procrastinating). According to the article “Why We Procrastinate” written by Hara Estroff Marano from Psychology Today, procrastinators can fall into these categories:
There’s more than one flavor of procrastination. People procrastinate for different reasons. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators:
- Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability
- Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
Now if you’re an overachiever like me, you fall into all of these. At this point, I’ve just accepted this as a facet of my personality. I know. Really healthy. However, despite this, I’ve still found ways to work with it
Now before I get into my tips, because of the oversensitivity of the internet I feel I should put in a little disclaimer here: I am in no way trying to advocate for procrastination. But if you must, let me help you do it the best way I know how.
Post daily reminders
Let’s say you have a big project, essay, or assignment coming up– if you’re exceptionally unfortunate, all three will be due in the same week. The first thing to do is write it down in a planner, on a post-it, or in your phone. Set an alarm a day before it’s due. Wherever it may be, the important thing is to not forget.
Do a little at time
Nothing is more detrimental to productivity than the mental strain of a heavy workload. The larger a task is, the less we want to do it. By doing a little at a time the burden is minimized until eventually it’s completely gone. This is also known as the Zeigarnik Effect.
*A little spoiler alert though– you’re never truly done with work. Welcome to adulthood.*
For example, if I’m writing a 10 page essay, I commit to a plan.
Monday: Create the outline
Tuesday: Write the Intro and half of the body
Wednesday: Finish it off and write the conclusion
Alternatively Change the setting and binge work
If it can’t be done at home or in the library, switch it up. A different environment is usually the push needed. During these times, I opt for a cafe, plug in my earphones, and just work until I’ve completed everything. When I’m on a roll, I don’t stop because I never know when I’m going to get the motivation to do the task again. And finding the motivation is the hardest part.
Do the hard stuff first
Let’s take a trip back to memory lane when we had to take the SAT or ACT. I know we’ve all tried hard to block out those memories, but bear with me for a moment. Remember when the proctor informed us that it would be in our best interest to do the easy questions first and then go back to the hard ones? Well, don’t do that here. I actually find it easier to do the hard ones first so that the easy ones seem more pleasant to do. It’s like… being forced to eat a bag of rotten eggs and then given a bag of black licorice. Both terrible, but compared to expired eggs, black licorice taste like heaven.
Clean your closet
Well if you’re not going to do your homework, might as well do something productive so it at least feels like you’re not a total waste of space. There’s also a Via Science behind this. I find that when I do something useful like clean or work out, I start to feel really good. Basically, the more productive I am the more I wish to be so. Therefore, I carry that energy I accumulated from finishing little tasks and use it to accomplish a bigger one.
Throw away perfection
Leave perfection at the door. Remember, you don’t have to shit out the best paper in one sitting. In fact, the best ones we usually shit out after the third or fourth sitting. Maybe even past the tenth if you’re striving for excellence. The most important thing is to do it. All the revising and editing will come later.
Those are some tips I have! I would write more, but I’m using this article to procrastinate on my an exegesis for my English class. If you guys would like to share your thoughts or comments, feel free to leave a comment below!