Procrastination: the largest, most populated nation in the world. Us procrastinators live on chips, Netflix, and pride ourselves in making excuses:
“I’ll start working at eight…Oh, darn it! It’s 8:01! Guess I have to start at 9:00 instead.”
“After this episode of Doctor Who I’ll stop [ends up watching five more episodes].”
“I’m not procrastinating…I just like to do everything in a last-minute panic.”
As alluring as this nation is, we cannot succumb to the bad habits it is promoting. Fortunately, there are many ways we can battle procrastination.
One method is to break down your work into smaller steps. Everyone is going to be intimidated by the giant wall that is a 1000-word essay, for example, but not as much so if they separated into smaller chunks. Start outlining your ideas so you won’t panic as much when writing the actual paper. Take a break and then write the introduction. Relax for another couple minutes and do paragraph one. This step-by-step process is significantly more effective than doing something all in one sitting, and before you know it, you’ll be quickly breaking down this giant wall.
Another method is to reward yourself periodically while working. Using the same example, you could have some chocolate at hand and let yourself eat one for every five sentences of that essay you write. Having something to look forward to is a great motivator for many people. On the flip side, using negative reinforcements is also an option. If you don’t finish your essay, take away video games for the night or clean your room. For hardcore procrastinators, you could put money into the equation; gain $60 for completing the essay or lose that amount of money if all you’ve got is your thesis statement.
A third method is to shut off the internet and declare the television ‘off-limits’ until your essay is finished. Often, social media and Netflix can be too tempting, so eliminating the ability to frequent them will significantly decrease procrastination. Now that your choices are limited, there is nothing to do except the school work at hand.
The next time you find yourself sitting on a couch, watching TV instead of writing that essay, stand up, put those chips down, and try one of these methods. Together, we can decrease the population of procrasti-nation and help ourselves and others make better decisions.
(I didn’t procrastinate on writing this article, what are you talking about?)
BY Elisa Sung