Friday, February 16, 2018

Getting rid of the Procrastination Habit

You probably don’t realize you’re doing it, but your day will be full of little bits of time that you waste on something unimportant rather than getting on with what you need to complete. It’s easy to get distracted when faced with an unpleasant chore or find reasons why you should leave a particular task until you have more time/the weather is better/your head doesn’t ache/you don’t need to collect the kids from school etc. How can you beat procrastination?

Everyone does it

No matter how organized you are, or how efficiently you run your life, there will be moments when you know you need to start work on a business proposal or get the laundry out of the drier. Instead, you discover a fascinating article in the local paper or remember that your Jack Reacher collection needs putting into alphabetical order. When you eventually decide it’s time to get on with the original task, you find several hours have passed, and you now need to take the dog for a walk or race off to a dental appointment. Three days later you still haven’t written your proposal, and the clothes are stale and wrinkled. Cue panic stations and stress because your deadline is looming, plus you’ve created extra work for yourself by having to re-do the laundry.

Positive and Negative Loops

I share with my students how you can get on a positive loop and a negative loop. I think it's important to get back on the positive loop.

My first year students are in the positive loop, while my third year students are stuck in the negative loop. I wish I could figure out how to motivate them. I've tried bringing in food, a calming steamer with peppermint oil and lavender oil. I've also played the audio book: The Book of Joy By: Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama. Nothing seems to help on what I do. In the end of the day I have to realize that they are in control of what they do.

Positive Loop:

Negative Loop:

Two Types of Thinking

Divergent Thinking:  Where the process determines the results in the end. This process uses mostly the right side of the brain.

Convergent Thinking: Where the end determines the means. You know what you are seeking before you begin. This process uses STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Now STEM is becoming STEAM. Art is added. I think both ways of thinking are important. What way of thinking do you use the most?

Managing Your Tasks

The truth is that a few minutes spent working towards finishing a task here and there will reduce the enormity of it, and if you chip away at big things, they will get done far more quickly, instead of waiting for the ideal time to do it all at once. Breaking down a large task into smaller sections can make it easier to get going because instead of thinking about the overwhelming job of having to get the spare bedroom cleared and decorated, for example, you know today you just need to empty the drawers in the spare room dresser.

The right rewards Some productivity gurus will claim that the use of rewards is not necessary, and you should find ways to motivate yourself and be disciplined enough to get things done without the promise of a reward at the end. That may be ideal, but in the meantime, it does no harm to give yourself a little treat for completing a task. Treats and rewards shouldn’t mean illicit pleasures, so don’t promise yourself a Hershey bar every time you complete a task, or you’ll soon end up with a weight problem to tackle as well! A ten-minute break sitting in the sunshine with a good cup of coffee, or fifteen minutes laughing at funny photos on a website like, are much better ways to reward yourself.

There are plenty of resources to be found, both on the Internet and at the bookstore, that will offer guidance on how to stop procrastinating, so have a browse around and try different tricks and tips until you find something that achieves results for you. You’ll be amazed when you realize how much time you can save by dropping the habit of procrastination.


Theresa Mahoney said...

I am the worst at procrastinating, but if I have a deadline, I do a lot of my best work then. I just need to have the right motivation sitting in front of me yelling "move your butt!"

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

Caught red handed! I do have issue with procrastinating as well ...better focus and get better time management!


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