Beating Procrastination Doesn’t Have to Suck


It’s that time again! Many of you are going back to school, which means… deadlines! Assignments! Those necessary obligations that you really don’t like, but have no other option but to complete and hand in on time!

I may not have assignments to hand in, but I have deadlines all the time, both ones I set for myself and those other people set for me. I also have the “projects” sitting in the back of my brain that need finished so I can “move on.” Recently, a friend asked me how you do something that you NEED to do, but don’t really WANT to do.

Here are some things that work for me (remember, some things you can’t do to music, but many things you can… simply turning on the radio can help a lot of the time if you’re doing stuff around the house).

Schedule it

Many people can’t get something done if they don’t schedule it. Write it on your calendar!

Why? Two reasons:

1)     It “mentally prepares” you to do that project or chore

2)   It “shames” you if you don’t do it when you said you would

Let’s face it, you might not LIKE going to the dentist, but if it’s on your calendar, you do it. DO NOT cross it off until it’s done. DO NOT reschedule it for any reason short of a total catastrophe. That is taking the coward’s way out.

Set one big goal, and easier “smaller goals”

The “big goal” would be “finish editing this novel this month,” the smaller goal would be “ten chapters by the end of the week.” Once you break down a project or task into smaller chunks, it’s much easier to handle and less emotionally stressful. Then you can say, “Well, I met my small goal of cleaning one shelf in my kitchen today,” instead of “I barely made any progress on deep-cleaning my kitchen!”

Make it fun

Whenever she’s not feeling particularly motivated (which isn’t often), my mom will see how much housekeeping she can do on a ten-minute timer. When that’s done, she quits. You’d be surprised how much you can do in ten minutes! You can also see how much cleaning you can do with ONE SONG… or how much you can get done before the commercial break is over. Recently, I needed to get a LOT of writing done in a relatively small amount of time. I set Pottermore potions to brewing on thirty and forty minute timers and wrote as much as possible before it was time to “stir the pot.”

Go by a rewards system

Buy a bag of M&Ms and for every 500 words on that school assignment, eat one… or three. Get your favorite ice cream and once you reach your larger goal, have a bowl. If you hate doing something, have something you love doing on standby as a reward. It can be anything… checking your e-mail, watching a sitcom, taking a walk, chatting with your friends… but use it as a reward, not as a means of procrastination.

Rejoice in success

Small goals being met are just as important as meeting big goals, because it shows you are making progress. Nothing motivates like seeing improvement. Nothing makes you more excited than realizing that the painting is nearly done, and soon the decorating of the guest room can begin. But… rejoice in finishing the painting. Celebrate your small victories! Be excited to have finished that assignment, or triumphed over that hard chapter in your book, or even in having cleaned your closet out.

The most successful people in life take things in little pieces. They aren’t afraid to be proud of their hard work, or to work through things in “stages.” They figure out what motivates them and use that as their key to success.

Go forth and succeed. You can do it (even if you don’t want to)!

12 thoughts on “Beating Procrastination Doesn’t Have to Suck

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  1. That is really fascinating, You’re an overly skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look ahead to in quest of extra of your fantastic post.

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  2. Aw, this was a very nife post. Taking a few minutes and actual efdort
    to create a very good article… but whwt can I say… I hesitate a lot annd never manage to get nearly anything done.

  3. Even if I don’t want to. That sounds about right!

    My first week of school was a grand success because I actually forced myself to get all of my reading accomplished. That made the tests less stressful as well as the discussions.

    If I hate doing something I put it off to the last minute. So this week, I think I’ll do my history assignments FIRST because I actually like my Christian Thought class. 😉

    And I was good! I didn’t read this blog post (procrastinate on my schoolwork in other words) until I knew I had the time!

  4. Aw, fun post, Charity! Love what you said about “scheduling it.” I rely on my pocketbook calendar – birthdays go in there as well as book tour dates or deadlines. Makes things a whole lot simpler. 🙂

  5. I’ve been trying to set little goals for myself and it was really working. I say was because I fell back into bad habits, but I continue to try. Your post reminds me of why I’m trying–these things are worth doing, but I don’t have to do some things all at once, and there’s no shame in breaking down large tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage chunks. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. I find the rewards thing interesting, because I am far less motivated by promising myself a reward than I am by having the reward as I do the thing. If I promise myself a reward afterward, I passionately hate the thing I’m doing. But if I turn the hated project into something that is accompanied by something pleasant, I enjoy the process so much more. Dishes, for instance. I hate doing dishes, but if I set up my laptop nearby and watch cooking shows while I am doing dishes, the process of doing dishes almost becomes a pleasure, whereas if I had promised myself a cooking show when I was done, the process would be torment.

    1. Heh, reminds me of a type of socialization training for dogs (maybe other pets too), where you cuddle and snuggle them while feeding them a special treat. The pup learns to enjoy human touch by the positive reinforcement *during* the snuggle. I’ve always had a hard time with the reward after the task as well, maybe what your suggesting would work better for me too. =)

    2. I used to hate cooking, so I would watch an episode of some television show while I did it. Now, I usually just listen to music, since I’ve come to the unfortunate realization that cooking is a part of life. I don’t “love it” but I don’t “hate it” either.

      For me, the prospect of doing the dishes before getting to watch a show wouldn’t make me hate the process — but it would speed me up! 😉

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