You know how it is. Stuff needs done, and soon. But I must check my emails, and my Instagram, then I’ll get stuck in. Oh, what’s that Twitter notification? I’ll just check it and then I’m totally freed up for the task at hand.
Next thing you know, it’s 10pm and you’re fawning over videos of puppies on YouTube.
In most ways, I’m usually fairly organised – I finished my dissertation over a week before it was due – but procrastination can rear its head every now and then, and it’s like the awkward person who overstays their welcome.
Work out when you’re most productive – I work best in the morning time to mid-afternoon. I want the evenings to be my own, and I hate that nagging feeling come nighttime when you know something still needs done. This often means early starts – but getting up early and securing the best spot in the library or coffee shop is well worth it. I find I feel positive about myself for taking that action, and feel good about how young the day is – this mindset is a good place to start.
Make to-do lists – I love being organised. (Though organising different things is also, ironically, something I do to procrastinate. In my previous job, I may have had a spreadsheet to update, but I decided to tidy the stationery cupboard instead. Oops.) Writing up a to-do list organises our thoughts into tangible chunks – quite often procrastination is a result of feeling overwhelmed by how much you have to do – where do I start? Write it all down, in a list, and work through it, starting with the most pressing task, or the one you are dreading the most. There’s satisfaction to be had in crossing things out as you go along! Lists also work well for me as I can be quite forgetful.
Cull the excuses and take responsibility – When in school, we had teachers to consistently gee us up, as it was their job to help us get stuff done. Come college, university or employment and it’s down to us. It can be difficult. We can tell ourselves things like “I work better under pressure”, but is this sincerely true or a justification for putting it off? I have used this as an excuse before, but when under any genuine stress or pressure, I absolutely hate it!
Get on with it – just taking the action and starting is half the battle. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”