How I Un-Procrastinate
Doing Right Things Effectively
What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a deadline. It is a habitual delay of starting or finishing a task despite negative consequences. Now you cannot stop procrastination by just not procrastinating. Procrastination is something that you don't know how to not do. Why?
“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.”
Said Doctor Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Hmmm, something in your brain is tinkering boredom, anxiety, frustration and beyond not letting you work. When you sit to work, and specially for a long, elaborated and complex task your brain gets into a mood analyzing the efforts required and the reward ratio. This reminds the brain that other smaller and easy tasks like watching a YouTube video and reading a wiki on Mayan scripts predicting that the world will end in 2100 are pending; SEARCH THAT NOW. Accomplishing these tasks feels rewarding as the clear of the list easily and by the time you realize that, a lot of time is passed and the day ends. This is procrastination, feeling of boredom to do a complex task.
So when does the boring task complete? After a few days, when the deadline of the original long task is near. Panic mode turns on. Full productivity mode turns on and the tasks is completed somehow. Yay. Just like the extended essays in your IBDP program. Is that a success? Do you think the Mayan wiki is of any use? What about the massive amount of time wasted which can be used to do something useful? A huge loss.
What to do with extra time you save here? Have a glance at my Life Blog Series.
Tim Urban who runs blog Wait But Why explained the above theory in his blog "Why Procrastinators procrastinate".
How To Beat Procrastination?
Persistence and determination is the key ultimate to improvement.
You procrastinate to complete boring tasks. Tasks are boing cause the rewards are not promising or worth. How to solve that?
Plug your day with tasks that shape you. As Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford :
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
Make A Timetable
Plan your schedule ahead and deliberately follow it.
Divide your tasks into smaller tasks : Smaller tasks will be easily achievable. One percent of task per day will complete the task in 100 days. As you complete the divided task and forget about it, it will bring relief and more focus to complete other tasks. These can be dividing your extended essay epic task into planning, research, outline and writing 100 words every day. In a month you will be able to complete with your first draft without any stress about the deadline. Below is the what James Clear said in this New York Times Bestseller book Atomic Habits.
Atomic habits : Habits are compound interests of self-improvement. - James clear
Add a Daily Highlight : A daily highlight is a task with the highest priority and utmost importance. Usually your core tasks like recalling your yesterday's Chemistry 9701 lecture or completing your 9709 formative assessments. Spend most of your time doing this job.
Time Box Particular Tasks : Time boxing is a simple technique to manage time and be more productive. For any task be it small or the highlight, set a specific amount of time. Keep a little buffer time around tasks to be practical.
Time Boxing provides with the deadline phenomena. As you have deadline for the task to complete you will be more productive. The PANIC MODE turns on and VOILA.
Pomodoro : A procrastinator requires a lot of breaks. But most importantly procrastinator needs a little push to start working. Pomodoro helps here. Pomodoro technique states that taking short breaks between a time bound session will freshen up and help start another task. I usually do a 45 min work and 15 min break. After 4 sessions I take a 30 min break.
- Procrastinator Needs a Reward : After a successful day be productive. Completing 80% of the tasks listed that day a reward will motivate to work even hard the next day. After all reward is what procrastinator finds in watching CAT videos on YouTube. GRUMPY CAT, LIL BUB, COLONEL MEOW, CAT NIP TIMES or THE PURRINGTON POST.
- Most Importantly Start Small : Always start small to get comfortable with the notion and work your way up. Starting small will help you recognize how much more you can complete in a day. After some time add more tasks a day and try to complete it. Gradually progressing towards a productive calendar will help you mold a better day. Performing highly difficult task during that time will increase focus and quality.
All of the methods above are about effectively completing tasks and forcing you to be productive.
As procrastination is about the EMOTIONS you go through; so How do you control them? Yes, certainly rewarding after a successful day is motivating but you cannot gift yourself a Pudding everyday. It not healthy.
The emotions are also based on your routine and surroundings. You need to change some habits and your working environment.
Taking control of your environment is listed in the part two of this series.