5 Minutes to read
Last updated: 15th December
I’ll do it just after I watch one more video. One more.
I often find myself saying this when I need to get something done. Didn’t matter whether it was a school assignment or a personal project, if I’ve already watched 10 videos on YouTube, how will one more hurt? It was when I had a week left on a 3-month assignment did I realise I messed up. Procrastination isn’t something that can be switched off but its possible to put yourself in a panic like I did to result in just … doing the work. There are many people who wake up one day or mid daydream and realise the life they’re living isn’t what they want. In ways, I felt the same feeling and decided to do something about it. I spent the next hour researching how to stop procrastination and the remaining week finishing the assignment. If you’re reading this and you’re in the same boat or want to use it for future reference, here are a few ways that you can help you overcome procrastination.
There’s no way aside from torture that can force you to do something you don’t want to do. Many people suggest to trick yourself mentally into doing the project but that results in having to constantly trick yourself every time you face a problem. This will result in an unhealthy mind and have to constantly lie to yourself.
Instead, think of yourself. Think of what you want out of it, obviously if you have considered doing it, it is of some value to you. Whether it’s a school assignment you don’t want to do, it beats failing and dropping out or getting fired and receiving a bad recommendation.
There is always something to remind you of the importance to complete the task and you must come face on with that and accept it. You need to think of yourself in three stages. Your past, present and future. These three stages apply to other factors of your life, not only procrastination.
Past: Forgive your past self for mistakes and procrastinating. What’s done is done and there’s no need to linger, what you do now can’t change what’s already happened.
Present: Your present self should always be doing something to benefit your future self. Doing 5 minutes of a project now will mean that that’s 5 minutes less for your future self. Cleaning your room now or making your bed right now will mean your future self-doesn’t need to do that.
Future: Everything you do should be to make your future self better. You live for the future. Do this for the future. Everything you do should be to make your future easier.
If you’re worried about what people will think, heres an article we wrote to handle that.
Once you have prepared yourself mentally this way, anything is possible.
Start with tasks you like the best. If you’re procrastinating because you have a large project in front of you, it’s better to break down the project into smaller tasks than taking it head-on. Most people use this technique, but doing tasks you enjoy first can result in a majority of the project is complete. if you don’t enjoy any of the tasks, try the 5-minute technique below.
This method worked for me best. I set a timer for 5 minutes exactly and I said to myself that after that 5 minutes, I’m going to take a nap, but only if I worked for 5 minutes. What I found was that after 3 minutes I slowly got into the groove and rhythm of things and when the 5 minutes came, even after the buzzer went off the five minutes turned into an hour. Something you could try.
This works with the 5 minutes and chill rule above. I would reward myself with every milestone I reached. So if I studied for 5 minutes straight, I would take a nap or eat. My breaks usually last a couple of hours but I found saying just 5 minutes of study and then a reward benefited me the most.
I highly suggest you buy a diary and a journal
Writing what you do on post-it-notes or scraps of paper can be useful but having a to-do list or goals in a diary is a good resource to look back, reflect or remind yourself of what you have to do. I usually rewrite what I need to do hundreds of times to get it through my head and understand. So, having a diary to store all that made it easy to access and know what to do next.
• Change the scene, go to a library, cafe or any public space.
• Tell yourself that doing this project now will mean you do less of it in the future. A little struggle now means more chilling later.
• Break down your project into parts and do the parts you find easiest or interesting.
• Do 5 minutes of the project you think is interesting compared to the others. Time it. 5 minutes exactly.
• After the 5 minutes is up, decide if you want to do a bit more or take a break then reward yourself. Once you’ve done this.