How To Stop Procrastinating

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination means putting off doing something. Sometimes that is what we do, even when we KNOW we HAVE to get something done, whether it’s pay a bill, take exercise, prepare a long report, decorate a room, apply for a grant or return something bought online that doesn’t fit! We all do it. We may procrastinate in different areas but we all procrastinate.

Structured procrastination

Some people have used procrastination as a way of getting things done – surprising? This is called structured procrastination and was devised by a Stanford professor who wrote a book called Art of Procrastination: The Art of Effective Dawdling, Dallying, Lollygagging, and Postponing. He used procrastination on BIG (really impossible tasks) to get him to complete smaller tasks. We all do that too – he just used it in a really big way. Don’t believe me? Tell me, if you have an article to write, or a long report or a textbook to read, does doing the dishes or tidying your room suddenly become imperative? We often try to put off starting a big task that we dread by working on smaller, easier tasks that we don’t like doing but that we find preferable (or a way of postponing) to making a start on the big important task.

Student Syndrome

This is where someone is given a task with a long completion time, so a student might be told to write an essay that doesn’t need to be submitted for 3 weeks (or the end of term). Student syndrome is thinking that completion date is so far away that there is not need to start just yet, so it keeps getting put off. A week before the due date, or even the day before, the students suddenly realise this is now due and start to panic. Putting off starting is a well known way of putting time pressure on yourself, so the project gets completed in a rush. There comes a time when the anxiety about not submitting a completed project overcomes the fear of having to get started on something you may not know how to do. You can find out more about student syndrome in this post, together with some resources on how to overcome procrastination.

Strategies To Overcome Procrastination

1. Reminders

Our subconscious may try to get us out of starting a new habit or starting on a big project by “making” us forget. Habits are automatic but starting to put a new habit into place needs conscious thought each time, as does doing something that moves us forward on a project.

If you have a calendar with large spaces on it where you can write something and which you check daily, then write a daily reminder to yourself for the next 21 days.
Put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror or the inside of your front door, anywhere you will see them several times a day.

2. Visualization and Affirmations

Take 10 or 15 minutes at a quiet time of day to visualise how you will feel and act when your project is completed or how you will feel when you hand it in on time, knowing you have done good work or how you will feel when you have made your chosen new habit automatic. We often avoid tasks that we feel won’t be enjoyable, so think about why you will enjoy the outcome or the benefit you will get from your new habit. Use affirmations. Say them out loud. “I enjoy swimmimg / jogging / dancing / tennis.” “I feel happy and relaxed handing in my completed essay / report / work”. Affirmations should be positive (I enjoy, I love, etc and should be in the present tense, I am, I do, etc)

3. Just A Small Step

I call this “Just One”. You tell yourself you just have to do one (pushup, dish) or stick it for one minute (putting away laundry, filling the dishwasher) then you can stop. Allow yourself to stop after the one if you want, you can do another very soon but often, you will see that it is only a small job and you finish it in a very short time.

4. Reward yourself

I have motivation charts that I use to get me to do certain jobs. I award myself points for doing them (eg a point each time I climb the 3 flights of stairs or for making the bed) and a small monetary reward for so many points. I choose to give myself a dollar for 100 general points or for 50 exercise points. If funds are tight, be creative about your rewards: how about a 15 minute bubble bath or a visit to a favorite website?

5. Encourage yourself

Forming new habits and overcoming procrastination would be easy if we could just decide to change but it doesn’t usually work that way. Rather than making a “never again” vow, tell yourself it’s “just for today”. You can do the same again tomorrow. Step by step day by day is much easier to achieve.

6. Use A Project Motivation Chart

I have found that a Project Motivation Chart uses several of the above techniques and that of a Daruma doll in one easy colorful page. At least, it’s colorful AFTER you have colored it in! You put the chart somewhere prominent, so it provides a reminder (strategy 1). It has space for completing a small step (strategy 3), provides a means of rewarding yourself (strategy 4) and encourages you to complete a project (strategy 5). You complete it yourself so it will contain empty areas until you complete them (like a Daruma doll).

A Project Motivation Chart provides two scales. One is a timescale in days or weeks, or even months if you choose. This one gets filled in every day or week or month that passes, whether you have done anything or not. This provides the time pressure for those who need it and a visual reminder that the completion date is approaching for those suffering from student syndrome. The other scale is a picture or graphic with areas to be completed as you complete a step in your project. So if one of your steps is to read a chapter in a certain book, then you color or shade in one space on the graphic. It is obviously best if your graphic gets completed in step with, or even slightly ahead of your timescale (to allow for difficulties) but even if it falls behind, having it in a prominent place will remind you each day.

What Strategies do YOU use to overcome procrastination?

You can comment below.

http://www.motivation4success.net/how-to-study-more-efficiently/

How To Study More Efficiently

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Are you having a hard time with studying? If you need to get your grades up or have a big test coming up, studying should definitely be one of your priorities. A lot of students get stressed about studying, but it is possible to greatly reduce your stress and to get better results by simply using the right strategies for studying. We will share some tips to teach you how to study more efficiently.

http://www.motivation4success.net/how-to-study-more-efficiently/Engage with The Subject

Just reading your study books is NOT going to get the information going in, not unless you have a photographic memory and even then, it will not be catalogued in your brain: you may be able to recall the page perfectly but it is unlikely you will be able to pick information out and use it to answer a question, along with other information. It is important to do ACTIVE learning. Rather like being with another person, you need to ENGAGE with the subject. If you were in a room with a friend, you would talk to them, ask them questions, listen to their answers? Treat the subject you are studying like you would a friend. Ask questions, find the answers, write them down or take notes.

Time To Study

When do you usually study? The time of day you pick for studying can have an important impact on how much information you retain. You might find that it is easier to focus when you study at night once you are done with all your other obligations and have taken the time to relax. Or you might find that you get better results by studying early in the morning. Everyone is different and you will have to figure out what time of day works best for you.

Pulling an all-nighter is definitely not the best way to study. It is best to limit your study sessions to an hour or two and to focus on one topic at a time. Taking a few breaks can also help, as long as you have no problems with going back to studying once the break is over. The best way to take a break from studying is to move around or go outside. Avoid checking social media or texting friends during your breaks since you might find it difficult to go back to studying.

If You HAVE TO Pull An All-Nighter

Of course, if you find yourself near the deadline for studying or submitting a piece of work, you may have no other option. There is an easy-to-read, short book written for college students but also useful for high schoolers that helps you write a piece of work and submit it in time if you are stuck. The book takes only a couple of hours to read and can be downloaded onto a Kindle or ebook https://amzn.to/2PSFELRreader so you an get it instantly. It is REALLY USEFUL and also easy to read: I used it as a doctoral student and wished I had had it when I was at school. It’s called “The Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing An Effective Term Paper” and is written by someone who was a procrastinator and has since become a college lecturer. It covers not only how to write but also helps you understand the question and provides an effective formula that you can adapt for writing any essay. In terms of studying, reading this book will give you ideas and practical help for engaging with the subject you are studying.

Retaining Information

Figure out how you retain information. Some students have a visual memory and will remember written words or info-graphics while other students have an auditive memory and need to hear things. You might find it easier to remember things if you go over the notes you took in class and create summaries of the main concepts. Visual learners could create mind maps which show how the information links together. These mind maps are easy to create and to recall and unlike recalling the exact page, they show how different items link together. Visual learners can also use concept maps which are similar to mind maps.

Your Study Environment

It is very important to create the right environment to study. Avoid distractions as much as possible, for instance by switching your phone off. You might find that studying in a quiet environment helps you focus or might find that you get better results if there is music playing. You should keep music at a low volume and try listening to instrumental music, classical musical or music from video game soundtracks to avoid being distracted by lyrics.https://amzn.to/2KqRabx

Goals And Time Management

It is very important to set some studying goals and to create a schedule. You will get better results if you set some achievable goals and find a way to check if you remembered everything. You can for instance complete a short quiz after each study session to see how much you really learned. Creating a schedule is the best way to avoid stress and to make sure you have enough time to study everything before an exam.

You should be able to get better grades now that you know how to study more efficiently. Test different methods until you find something that works well for you since everyone is different and you need to figure out what kind of environment or studying method you prefer.