Procrastination: why it is so addicting and “how to get over it”

postit scrabble to do todo
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A few years ago, I was a first class procrastinator. I have spent time with procrastinators and non-procrastinators. The main difference between these people is their outlook on work itself. While both may not enjoy a task, they both see the action of completing the task in a different light. What makes procrastinating so appealing to some people? It’s all about mindset.

The procrastinator will look at a job and find it useless to put in his best efforts. He thinks that he can get away with “winging it” and still reap the benefits of the job in the end. The procrastinator lives in a fantasy thinking he is superman and can take on a 12 page essay in one night without sleep. His motto is “play before work.”

The Non-procrastinator, on the other hand, cannot make sense out of this logic. To him, it doesn’t make sense to procrastinate. “Why wait till tomorrow, when you can do it today?” These people tend to be more responsible and experience less stress in the end because they are not pulling “all-nighters” and trying to figure out what excuses to tell the teacher the next day.

Yes, the procrastinator can still get good grades. He can still complete assignments, but it will not be at his best performance. The procrastinator can hide it at times. But don’t be fooled. Chances are he has experienced many heart attacks and been through many finger marathons before 11:59 pm.

How to stop procrastinating:

1. Make a list

Most of procrastination lies in the mind. So it’s time to turn that mindset upside down! Making a list can keep your mind busy which will cause the “responsible, finish-the-job” juices to start flowing through those veins. A list will give you a road map to success. Be sure to put dates to your goals! What good is a list if you have no idea when to finish the goals? Don’t worry if you cannot finish each goal at the right time. The best thing to do is to set your goal 3 days before the due date. Maybe even a week if you are uncertain. That gives you time to repair anything, or prepare for life’s surprises that love to get in the way of our plans!

2. Give yourself a prize

Everyone likes a little motivation to complete a task. That’s one of the reasons why people work. We are motivated by money 70% of the time. Why not use this classic theory to help you stop procrastinating? Tell yourself that you will treat yourself at the end of the week if you get all of your tasks finished. Verbal positive reinforcements are also a nice way to get motivated. You don’t have to be cocky about it, but it’s okay to hang your achievements in your room. If you got an A+ for a paper you finished on time, hang it on your fridge! Take pride in your own work, and you will become addicted to finishing jobs on time!

3. Set your goals high

If you are a D student, it’s best not to aim for an A. That may be too daunting. But try aiming for a B instead of a C just to pass. EVERYONE is fully capable of passing a course if they put some effort into it. Don’t let simply “passing” be your goal! Try aiming for an A and B and get working on it! You’d be surprised at how fully capable you are to looking like a genius. I have personally thought I couldn’t make an A in a class once. The thoughts would constantly replay in my mind: “I received B’s in the classes before, so why would now be any different?” But once I tried setting those negative thoughts aside and started placing my goal up high, guess what grade I received in the end? That’s right a D! Just kidding. I received an A of course. Why? Because I actually took the effort to open my books and take notes instead of choosing to watch tv and eat cereal all day.

4. Learn to say no

This one is a great point because there are so many people out there who will try taking your precious time away from you. If it is not an emergency, you must learn how to say no. I know, it will be hard. Know that fun will always be around, but your deadlines won’t. Finish your assignments so you can enjoy without suffering from the consequences. Even if your family is watching tv in the living room and ask you to join, stop. I’ve done that many times. My family would say “it’s only one movie” or “how long does it take to finish your assignments” or “it’s just a class.” Don’t let these comments fool you. Trust me, they will be more proud of you if you receive good grades in the end. It’s okay to politely turn down any invitations from friends too. Just learn to set aside some time for people. You don’t want to be a “cave-dweller” but you do want to do what’s best.

5. Learn to say no TO YOURSELF

Most of the time, YOU will be your worse enemy. Perhaps everyone is leaving you alone to study, yet you choose to fulfill your own wishes. You have the free time, yet you listen to yourself and binge watch on Netflix or go hiking or shopping instead. Stop! Realize that what you may want right now can wait. No matter how badly you may want to do something fun, wait till after you finished your assignments. It’s okay to take a break now and then, but make sure you can dedicate AT LEAST  30 minutes to your project a day. Beware of when your brain wants to shut down for a nap too. There have been times where I was glad I did not sleep in and instead wake up early to study. Make sure you get enough sleep to function, but remember that you do not have to stay in bed all day. Once your job is done, you will be able to lay in bed with your popcorn all day guilt free!

There you have it folks. A nice list of how to get over procrastination. I have spent 2 semesters of college being a procrastinator (the kind that would submit a whole essay at 11:59 pm). Let me just say that it wasn’t always fun! I’d experience so much anxiety and stress for something I could have avoided.  But once I tried to quit my lazy ways, I have never gone back since! Procrastinating can be an addiction. But just like any other addiction, you can learn to set yourself free.



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