5 Actually Effective Ways to Beat Procrastination

TIA HERE and if you are anything like me, you've probably gone to war with procrastination more times than you can count. In fact, you might even be doing it right now. When it comes to fighting the desperate urge to do anything but your work, things can get pretty intense. Deadlines creep up, and still you would rather watch Parks and Recreation reruns than do two math problems in a row. At the end of the day, you know you'll have to get your work done, but is there a way to overcome your procrastination and get it all done sooner?

I'd say yes. In fact, there are five different ways. I've used all of these methods at one time or another and, although they work differently for different people, I would say they are the best options I've stumbled across so far. As you start to toil against your addiction to refreshing Facebook, I suggest you give these a try and let me know which ones help you the most!

1. The Pomodoro (Timer) Technique. This one has its own website, but as you can see, it's marketed more as a time organization method than one meant to stop procrastination. I use an altered (and simplified) version taught to me by a friend. I set a timer for 25 to 50 minutes, depending on how urgent my work is, and I work until the alarm goes off. If I procrastinate, the alarm marks how much time I've wasted, but if I don't, I get a break for 5 to 10 minutes afterward. Just keep setting timers, marking work time and break time, until everything is done. Turning annoying homework  into a game, or a race, somehow makes it more tolerable and quicker to power through. I use this one the most, sometimes with my roommates, because it turns even the most dull readings into a friendly competition.


2. The Money Mind Trick. Time is money, and this is a good way to remind yourself of that. For each task you have to do, based on how difficult it is, how time consuming, and how much you don't want to do it, set a price. Then, at the end of the day, check off what work you finished and calculate from that how much "money you've made." Even though you're not actually rewarding yourself with that money, it feels good to know that your time has been used efficiently. You should be valuing your time, and there's no better way to do it than to create a tangible, quantifiable equivalent to something you really want.

3. The Immediate Reward System. This is a popular one I've seen across the internet, involving gummy bears as a reward for finishing a paragraph of reading. While it doesn't have to be candy, I think it's always a good idea to give yourself some positive reinforcement for doing work you don't want to do. Rather than quantifying your rewards by time, like with the Pomodoro Technique, with this one you reward yourself based on the amount of work you've done. For every paragraph of reading you do, eat a chocolate chip or take a sip of wine (of course, turning your work into a drinking game may reduce the quality of it). No matter what you decide to do, the result is the same: rewarding yourself for doing good work means that you will start to associate finished work with something you like. And that's nice!



4. Three Strikes, Move On. This is less a technique than a general rule of thumb when it comes to procrastinating. Often when I am trying to get work done, I'll find my mind wandering, or I'll find myself on tumblr, or I'll find myself watching Game of Thrones—all things I should not be doing. Rather than try to force myself to get back into my work over and over again, I find it's better to switch things up. If I catch myself getting distracted three times while trying to write a paper, I'll give up on the paper and go do something else, like work on yoga instead, or Duo Diaries, or maybe even a different assignment I need to do. Rather than watch yourself fail again and again at doing your work, face the fact that you can't concentrate and switch to a different productive activity that you have to get done anyway. At least that way, you'll always be achieving something, even if just bit by bit.



5. The Fake Helicopter Parent Method. If you've ever had an overly involved parent, you know what it's like to be asked every five minutes, "Are you doing your work?" Once you head off to college and the working world beyond, you'll find that no one is checking in on you when you're distracted, so you either have to take up the role yourself, or find someone else to do it. When I am really struggling to get my work done, I find that announcing my goals to other people legitimizes them, making me feel as if I've made a claim and if I don't follow through, everyone who heard me will think I'm a slacker. I use other people as my timer, telling them that when I come back into the room, I'll be done with my paper and ready for dinner. The thing about this method is that the person you choose doesn't actually have to care or pay attention, but when you turn them into an authority figure, you're putting more pressure on yourself to get your work done. And sometimes a little more pressure is exactly what you need.

Let me know in the comments below what you do to avoid procrastination! Now, stop reading this post, and get to work.
Much love,

T.