We get it, procrastination is a common stress for many students. Productivity flows out of you in gallons: you are doing everything at once. The only thing neglected is the task you are supposed to do, the paper you are supposed to write, the thesis you are supposed to outline. Indeed, the house is clean, the cat is well-fed, you have picked up a new craft and there are no new tv shows to watch, because you have watched them all. Sounds familiar?
Well, if you would like to stop this endless cycle of ignoring the most urgent writing task and then pouring it all out on the page in the final moment, while wishing you would have listened to the inner voice of reason sooner, then this article will help you. Otherwise, you can always ask for writing help. The key is to start right now!
Put Motivational Music On
Something that makes people go faster on treadmills, run marathons and do endless push-ups is the right kind of music. Do not put your karaoke favorites, you are bound to distract yourself. This is also not the time for calm meditational pop, coffee shop music, or for a rock concert. Put something that has a fast rhythm, like “Eye of the Tiger”, and boosts you to write right here right now. With such a soundtrack, you can sure become the protagonist, who writes that paper in no time like the hero he or she is!
Usually postponing happens with assignments which are really hard to complete. We think that we cannot do them well at once; they require a lot of time and pondering. That is why postponing the assignment is natural: you simply think you cannot do it perfectly on the first try. So, you end up thinking that a better time will show up.
However, it will not. And usually, we will not find any time at all on the last night to do it even half-decently. That is why you should limit yourself. Give yourself three days and a strict deadline. Make sure someone you admire will control how your work is going. This is a sufficient time resource to do your assignment perfectly, and you will feel immensely better having it done before any of your other groupmates.
This tip also applies to the perfectionist procrastinator. Do not panic that your assignment is not perfect right away. Just write it. Open your word document and write absolutely everything concerning the topic at hand. Do not worry if that is not structured, your vocabulary is not sophisticated and so on. Do not reread your writing until you have completely written down everything you can think of. You will be surprised by how much information you can write about when you are not restrained by boundaries or your inner editor, that needs to stop you every second. After you are done, you can edit, structure your paper, format it according to the regulations, and it will become immensely easier when you are not facing a completely blank document.
Push Away Distractions
Acknowledge your weakness. Admit that you are distracting yourself on purpose. You do not need another cup of tea, beating that level at the video game right now, or checking your Twitter more than once a day. All you need to do is focus. This does not mean that you have to spend half a day cleaning your house or organizing your pens. If your usual working environment is limiting your productivity: your room is dirty or your roommate wants to talk to you, go to the library, a coffee shop, wherever you can bring your laptop and work. It is healthy to distract yourself when you have been engaged with the task at hand for hours, but if distractions are keeping you even from starting, then you have to prioritize your time.
There is no glory in the process. This means that if you spend thirty days worrying about an assignment, but not actually completing it, your professor will never see all the stress you have endured because of this assignment, they will think you simply have failed. The same goes for a half-finished assignment.
You need to be result-oriented. A famous Japanese saying goes as “it is better to give birth once, then to worry about it for years”. This means that it is better to just do it and give it all you can, without damaging yourself and stealing time from yourself by thinking about how stressful the paper is. You can always resort to the ancient and helpful practice of meditation, as it helps bring out mindfulness and focus on the present moment. Many wise gurus are calm thanks to practicing every day, and you can start doing it before bed and see the results for yourself, too. Here is how.
One Step at a Time
Writing for just ten minutes is not hard, right? Ten minutes is enough, and then you can take a break. Use this technique to push yourself to start. Whenever you face a scary blank word document and have no idea how to fill it with all the information that you want to fill it with, it can be intimidating. But if you write for just ten minutes, you will have at least fifty words, and the mechanism will be put into action. It will be easier to continue, then to start anew. Take a little break, and then convince yourself to write for ten more minutes. Just ten! Do this until you no longer pay attention to the time. The goal is to immerse yourself in work, and you have reached it! Have you already started your paper? Do it now!