Everyone can relate to the feeling when you have that essay you need to finish or that math test you need to study for, and instead of doing any of these dreadful activities right away, you decide to do it in five minutes. Five minutes later, you decide that sorting all of your clothes by color is much more productive, and you would have time to finish it later. This keeps happening until you realize that you weren’t able to get anything done. This familiar feeling is defined as procrastination. Procrastination is a pitfall that many people fall into that prevents task completion and true success. I wish to empower you with the following:
6 Proactive Ways to Prevent Procrastination
1. Plan what you want to get done
Planning is the first and foremost way to get into the mindset of doing work. Even if you don’t have the motivation to begin your work, planning what you want to get done is a good way to get into the mindset of working. Make a to-do list of every important task you need to finish, and add in the times you want to start and finish. This schedule will make it easier for you to start each task on the list and will keep all of your tasks organized, to prevent finishing work at the last minute. The first step is often the hardest, so try starting off with a small, easy task to get you started.
2. Find a good place to study
Studying in a proper environment is another great way to get into the mindset of working. Find a quiet place, with minimal noise and distractions; this can help you stay on task and not be tempted to begin the cycle of procrastination again. Additionally, finding this designated study spot can help your brain stay on task, as it will associate your study space as a place to work, and one of the simple ways to prevent procrastination.
3. Put Your Phone Away
Unsurprisingly, phones cause immense distraction. In fact, studies have shown that up to thirty percent of Americans get distracted by their phones. For a productive study session, it is essential to put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode and to move it out of sight. This reduces your temptation to scroll through your phone and will prevent procrastination. Additionally, if going down internet rabbit holes is an issue for you, try locking your browser to prevent you from staying on distracting websites.
4. Take realistic breaks
Although taking breaks is a common way to start procrastinating, they are still very important for maintaining energy and motivation while you complete your work. To take realistic breaks, set a timer for how long you want to take a break and be ready to work as soon as the time runs out. As studies have shown, the most energizing study breaks involve taking a walk, drinking water, taking a short nap, getting some fresh air, meditating, or eating a snack to regain some energy. The worst thing to do during a study break is to tell yourself that you will start your work later because that will only bring you back into the cycle of procrastination.
5. Motivate yourself for the task
One of the reasons why you might procrastinate is because you are dreading it. One way to prevent that is by doing something to add enjoyment to your work. One way is by listening to music as you work; although it depends on the person, listening to calming music (classical, lofi, etc) is found to increase enjoyment and tune you out of your surroundings, which can increase your productivity and reduce distractions. Another way to prevent procrastination is by setting goals with peers. Working with someone else can keep you motivated to keep working, and you both could keep each other on task.
6. Reward Yourself
Rewarding yourself is another great way to stay motivated to finish your task. Rewarding yourself can release dopamine, a chemical in our bodies that increases happiness. For example, telling yourself that you can eat ice cream after completing a big task can motivate you to finish that task, instead of putting it off for the last minute. However, make sure that these rewards are spaced out so they feel earned, rather than another excuse to procrastinate again.
One of the dangers of procrastination is how easy it is to do. Additionally, procrastination has disastrous consequences of keeping you up late at night, making you more tired, and less productive overall. Healthy study tips will turn into good life habits, which lead to success in life.