I have been stuck in the cycle of procrastination for too long now. I have been procrastinating most of my life. Last year, I got it relatively under control but I’ve fallen back into the trap. Zoom classes and being at home have made it difficult not to procrastinate. The result is constant stress, anxiety, and discomfort. So how do I fix that cycle? How do I change it? These are the five steps I take when I know I’m procrastinating.
- Write Out Deadlines
My first step to get out of this cycle is to write out deadlines. I take my entire semester’s work and write it in one calendar. That way, I can check everyday to see what’s due and what’s coming up. There’s no confusion and no extra effort. It takes one or two hours and then I can prepare my to do list from there.
- Create a to do list
Most of my classes have weekly assignments. I make a plan for when I will complete those on a weekly schedule. That way I know that after my history class, I have to do my stage technology homework. Then my day ends earlier. For sparse assignments, I block out time on a day that is relatively stress free. Then I’m not adding work onto an already difficult day. I try to be as realistic as possible.
- Set Priorities
It’s easy to get caught up watching Netflix or Tik Tok. I try to establish my priorities so that I can accomplish my goals. For example, I like having no responsibility on the weekend. It makes me feel more relaxed and recharged. For that reason, I make sure that all my work is done by Friday night. I also create a hierarchy for assignments and classes. That way, my most pressing stuff gets done first.
This is by far the hardest part, it’s time to start the project. When I feel myself start to stress, I acknowledge that getting this done will help me feel better. If I’m writing an essay, I open the google doc. I don’t put pressure on finishing it or getting it done. I sit in where I’m at and break it into chunks. After I finish one or two pages, I take a ten minute break. When those ten minutes are up, I have to go back to the assignment.
- Reward Yourself
Depending on how your brain works, rewards can be very helpful. I don’t like to spend money or go out of my way to reward myself. I like to use things that I’m already doing but those get pushed until I finish my project. Say I want to take a shower, not until I finish three pages of my essay. I try to reward myself with little things along the way and then work up to something I really want to do after I finish.
These are just some of the ways I deal with procrastination. It’s not an easy cycle. In my experience, it’s one of the most difficult cycles to get out of. The reality is that I know I’ll feel a million times better after I get it done. I know that it’s not going to be as difficult as I’m making it in my head. It is just a matter of starting the project and not complaining about it. It’s an exercise in acceptance.
I hope you’re having a good day. I hope your day is filled with joy, positivity, and laughter. I hope you find peace, love, and happiness.