There is nothing quite as self defeating as procrastination. It’s like eating an entire cake–oh so delicious in the moment but hello regretsville ten minutes later when you switch from sweatpants to skinny jeans. And the worst part is, when you look back on your time spent procrastinating, you didn’t even get to enjoy it! Your time was tainted by the stress of what you actually needed to do. Kill the beast. Here’s how.
A beefed-up, well organized bookmarks bar can do wonders to crush procrastination. One of my favorite websites, Cracked.com catches me in a loop every time I go there. I’ll click on link after link, each article more relevant and interesting than the next! (they’re not of course, but as my procrastination desperation grows, discretion goes out the window). Make yourself a bookmarks folder that says: interesting articles. It’s so simple, but has multiple advantages: First, it de-clutters the tabs in your browser. Im sure I’m not alone when I say that it’s annoying as hell to have tons of tabs open that aren’t remotely related to your current task, but nonetheless have to stay open for future reference. If need be, make another bookmark folder: school. That way when you switch from Biology to Chemistry homework, you can close out your tabs and have a clutter-free workspace, without worrying that you’re losing track of your other assignment in the process.
Second, it takes away your ability to rationalize your distraction. If you can’t say, “Oh, I HAVE to read this now or I’ll forget to read it later,” the procrastination monster shuts up just long enough for you to get back to work.
Incentivize Getting Out of Bed
Getting an early start to the day has been SO critical to my success as a student, but procrastinating the inevitable–getting out of bed–has to be in a top 5 list of hardest habits to break. My solution is incentivizing the wake up with something awesome. That something used to be a cigarette when I smoked, but lately it’s a handful of Reese’s pieces or a sugary cappuccino and the great thing is, I just woke up so I’m not really hungry. I can eat a handful and be satisfied, but now my butt’s out of bed and the hardest part is done! Even if it takes some time to properly wake up, you can still get relatively easy stuff done that would eat up time later, like responding to emails or reading for a class you enjoy.
There’s an App for That
Stay Focused, an app for Google Chrome, blocks distracting websites for a set amount of time. I love the blurb on their site :
“You sit down at the computer, and you swear you’ll be productive. Next thing you know, it’s twelve hours later. You’ve checked your email, updated your Facebook status, browsed the trending topics on Twitter, read your RSS feeds, looked up your favorite band on Wikipedia, vanity googled yourself, cyber-stalked your ex, looked at all your high-school crushes’ Facebook photos, watered your plants on Farmville, and lost a week’s pay playing online poker. The one thing you haven’t done is WORK.”
Besides reminding you how embarrassing your old Farmville habit was (how did I ever justify taking 30 minutes to water my cabbage???) this app serves a dual purpose: it keeps you away from your usual procrastination haunts and trains you to stay focused for extended periods on a given task, a MUST for working in an office later. Your employer might block Facebook and Twitter, but odds are you have plenty of other procrastination sites that kill your productivity. Learn now to stay focused and make it easier for yourself down the road. This app single-handedly cured me of a Facebook addiction that got out of control for a couple of weeks. Get it for free here.
Now stop reading this blog and get back to work.
I’m reading Hamlet