As someone with plenty of experience in dodging commitments, I feel confident in my expertise concerning this subject. Procrastination is man’s eternal enemy in the struggle to do basically anything ever. All we can do is pray to get at least some work done… tomorrow.
Keep A Calendar
My MacBook’s calendar has probably saved me, and my hopeless younger sister, from failing school many times. While I’m anxious enough that I remember most of what I need to do, it relieves stress to have a backup brain at home. Keeping track of your commitments through calendars or to-do lists makes sure that even if you put off completing an assignment, you’re going to at least know when you have no choice but to face your tasks. I use my calendar to schedule homework, my shifts, babysitting gigs, writing deadlines, and birthdays. When my sister had a book report due in a month, I still wrote it down, because it was a constant reminder that something needed to be done!
Have A Clean Workspace
This may just be me, but a messy workspace puts me in the worst mood! Even now, I’m huddled in the corner of my desk because I have paint, rugby socks, nail polish, and three books dumped onto it for lack of a better storage system. This clutter is always in the corner of my eye, nagging me about my lack of organization. Not to mention that having a dirty room just adds to your to-do list, and your stress! Cleaning is also a great thing to do when you have an essay due the next day but really want to put it off, so tidying ahead of time will give you the advantage against your future self.
Get The Easy Stuff Out Of The Way
If you have thirty post-its on your wall, reminding you of tasks that need to be completed ranging from doing the dishes to working on your thesis, this will only add to your stress and make you less motivated to do anything. For example, I have a lot of writing to do for my various positions, so I’m writing this article because I know it’s a) easy, and b) doesn’t need to be good. Once I’m done this, it’s another thing I don’t need to worry about for at least another week.
Don’t Complicate Things
For some people, fancy to-do/calendar/reminder apps really do help them reach their goals, but this cannot be confused with a “Productive Procrastinator”. This person commits themselves to breaking their procrastination habit by getting a helpful app or program to force them to work… and then spends multiple hours downloading, customizing, and learning this new program. By the time they’re ready to start actually using the program, they’ve decided that it isn’t compatible with their learning style and they must find a new program. Wash, rinse, repeat. I’m guilty of doing this, especially since I know from the get-go that I work best with simple programs like my iPhone’s Notes app, not a metaphorical universe where completed tasks equal imaginary points. While this may work for some, a chronic procrastinator needs to start with simpler tactics to force themselves to work.
The only program I swear by is the Chrome extension SelfControl, which blocks websites for a certain amount of time, and there is no way for you to stop this time before it runs its course. I block Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, you name it, and am bored enough to resort to actually working!