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The Secret to Beating Procrastination

The Secret to Beating Procrastination

Megha Puskur

Procrastination is most people’s biggest problem. Here’s an article that teaches you the secret to beating procrastination.

Let’s face it, we’ve all struggled with procrastination at least once in our lives. Infact, possibly many times. And even when you think you’ve beaten it, it comes back to haunt you. But don’t worry, there’s a way to defeat procrastination once and for all! However, you can’t simply wave a wand and say ‘Vale Procrastinatum.’ I’ve tried it, and trust me, it doesn’t work. But what can you do? Well, there’s a series of steps you have to take, but it’ll be worth it. Let’s start at the beginning.

First, you have to figure out what kind of procrastinator you are. If you’re like me, you must have thought there’s just one type, right? Not exactly. There’s five types of procrastinators (some say four, but I’m going to go with five), and you can fall under one or more of them.

1. The Perfectionist Procrastinator

perfectionist

Yep, the perfectionist is someone who always wants everything to be perfect. The symptoms? When you keep putting a task off because you want it to be perfect. “If I start it now, it’s going to be bad, tomorrow it’ll be perfect.” Most probably, that ‘tomorrow’ is gonna be the day of the deadline, which is definitely not ideal. Or, you might have even started the task, but stopped because it wasn’t going the way you wanted it to. Well, if you fall under this category, I have some advice for you:

Don’t allow yourself to become obsessed with the minor details in an attempt to make it perfect. Instead, you should be clear with the purpose of the task, and assign a time for it so you don’t get off track and get caught up with unnecessary details. 

Let’s say you have to write a report for your economics class. Instead of trying to find the perfect words to use, spend more time on the data. In this way, look at what’s actually important and work on that instead of spending unnecessary time thinking about minor details that are not going to fetch you anything.

2. The Dreaming Procrastinator

procrastination

You come under this category if you’re always planning how you’re going to go about the task, but not actually taking action on it. Dreamers are very creative, but they tend to get carried away by their imagination instead of working on the task at hand. If you think you come under this category, you probably keep coming up with new goals, and you think about them a lot, but you never actually work on them. 

Now, how do you actually get yourself to start work? Whenever you have a goal in mind, set actionable steps towards it. Let’s say you want to learn a language – a great goal, for sure. But you probably keep thinking about it, and never get to actually learning anything. To prevent this, write down a set of steps to reach that goal. 

Steps to Reaching Your Goal

  1. Make a study plan.
  2. Find some resources.
  3. Learn the grammar basics.
  4. Keep going

Once you have an actual plan in front of you, you can’t keep dreaming about someday completing your goal. If you have a real plan, you will start working on it because you always know what to do next. One more thing, when you’re working on these tasks, make sure to reflect on them. How well are they working for you? Is this step actually useful, or are you just wasting time? Reflecting on your progress can bring positive results by reminding yourself that you’re on the way to achieving your goal, and can also increase productivity by cutting down unnecessary tasks.

3. The Avoiding Procrastinator

avoiding

“It’s probably better to do nothing instead of making mistakes.” Well, if you have had this kind of mindset before, let me tell you something. We only learn by making mistakes. The first draft is definitely not gonna be the best, maybe even far from it. But writing a terrible first draft is way better than just procrastinating. This is because now that you have your ideas on paper, or on the document, you have already finished the first step: starting. Now all you have to do is edit your essay, which is much easier than writing a perfect essay in one go. 

If you find yourself constantly scared of being judged by others or even yourself for mistakes or taking on things you can’t manage, this is what you should do: Eat that frog. Yep, you read that right! What this means is to finish off the most difficult task the first thing in the morning. This is when you have the most energy and motivation, and instead of putting all this energy into unnecessary tasks like checking your email, procrastinating, etc. eat that frog. 

Once you finish off the task that has been bothering you this whole time, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, and the rest of your tasks will be a breeze. And, even if you make mistakes, you’ll have time later to correct them. What’s important is actually getting started. 

Okay, so now you’ve planned to tackle that huge essay this morning. But now, you’re looking at a blank screen. Kudos to you! At least you’ve opened up a document! That is the first step in getting this thing done! Now, usually, you would just stare at the screen and start procrastinating, but today, do something else instead. And what’s that? Write down a list of sub-tasks which you need to do in order to get that huge essay done. 2000 words seems very daunting, I know, but how about a 50 or a 100 word introduction. It barely takes 10 minutes, right? 

And now that your introduction is done, why not your first argument, or point? Another twenty minutes tops. If you keep this momentum going, you’ll realize that the essay you found so daunting actually finished pretty quickly once you got started. So, I challenge you to eat that frog tomorrow morning, and get that difficult task off your plate!

4. The Crisis-Maker Procrastinator 

crisis maker

You live for the thrill of deadlines. I have to admit, I have definitely felt the rush of finishing a thousand word essay in thirty minutes right before the deadline. But, however exciting you think that is, and however quickly you think you can finish the task right before the deadline, it is just not ideal at all. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastination habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

What you need to do is start using the Pomodoro technique, which is basically a tomato timer. You work in short bursts of 25 minutes with no distractions, and then take a five minute break after each pomodoro. After four sessions, you get to take a longer break. Since you love the thrill of finishing your work in a short amount of time, use the Pomodoro technique. But instead of starting an hour before the deadline, start a few days before it, or even earlier. 

Now, when you finish the task in a few pomodoro sessions, you have the time to review it and make it even better! And you can challenge yourself to finish the task in a shorter amount of time without the pressure of the deadline in thirty minutes! So download a pomodoro app or set a timer, and get started!

5. The Busy Procrastinator

busy

Last, but certainly not least, is the busy procrastinator. You probably have five different tasks to do, can’t seem to determine which one is the most important, so you get started on the easiest one. And when you finish that, you tell yourself you’ve achieved something. 

Technically you have, but you’re also procrastinating on the actually important tasks at the same time. You have too many tasks to complete, and you just don’t know which one is the best for you, so you postpone making actual decisions and immerse yourself in work, but not productive work.

Well, that isn’t going to work if you want to stop procrastinating. You need to get your priorities straight. Let’s say you have a test tomorrow, and some small homework due in a week. You’re probably going to get started on the small homework, just because it seems easier. However, the priority here is obviously the test, which means, you need to start studying and save the homework for later for you to finish your current, and more important, task. 

Let’s break it down a little further. You need to stop wasting your already limited time and energy on tasks that don’t matter, and are not going to help you in the long run. A task might seem urgent, but it might not be as important as some of your other tasks. I suggest using the Eisenhower matrix, which is just a grid of four squares: urgent and important, non urgent and important, urgent and unimportant, and lastly, non urgent and unimportant. 

Ideally, you should spend most of your time in the second square: non-urgent and important. This helps you be prepared for obstacles instead of just reacting to them. You probably currently spend most of your time in the last two boxes, which is a waste of your time and energy. By using these squares to divide and prioritize your tasks, you can start work on the ones that are actually important, and finish the less important tasks later.

In conclusion, I think you’ve noticed that procrastination mainly comes from fear. If you change your mindset into one that is more planned, prioritized, and less perfectionist, you will be on your way to beating procrastination for good. So get started on these small tasks which will change the way you work, and change your life for the better!


Sources:

Ho, Leon. “5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them).” Lifehack, Lifehack, 26 June 2020, www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/types-procrastination-and-how-you-can-fix-them.html.

See Also

“4 Types of Procrastination and How to Beat Them.” Alpha Efficiency, 29 July 2020, alphaefficiency.com/4-types-procrastination-beat/

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

Because at the end of the day, I have submitted so many tasks late because of my deadly procrastinat habit. And all for the stress of finishing the task late? No. You know how you think rushing the work at the last minute makes you perform better? I hate to say it, but that’s an illusion. The truth is, rushing to complete your work at the last minute just means that you’re not giving yourself time to review it, which is costing you a lot, something that you could have saved on if you had just started earlier. 

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