Putting the ‘pro’ in procrastinate

Have you ever got stressed for assignments whilst watching Netflix, knowing you should be doing your assignment instead, but you feel like you cannot stop procrastinating and that stresses you out even more? It’s also known as the procrastination doom loop that sends us spiraling.

Procrastination literally means “put off till tomorrow” in Latin. Which is what we all probably say when we have that lecture to go through, or finish that assignment, or maybe even just start the assignment!

Personally, the sudden uncontrolled freedom of university has its advantages, but one of the disadvantages is when I put off things for “later”, and end up doing absolutely nothing. Weeks fly past me, as I binge watch on Netflix, do nothing most of the day, and then find myself stressing over everything when it is two weeks until exams. It can’t just be me feeling this way, right?

During one of my psychology lectures, one of my lecturer showed us a really interesting video about procrastination. Involving a monkey and a Panic Monster. Sounds quite childish doesn’t it? Funnily enough, I actually went home that day, and watched the video again. Even though it is full of animations and silly drawings, I feel like it really hit a spot in my idle mind. Mainly because I could agree with the video 100%.

However, if you’re going to procrastinate, and don’t want to watch the video, here’s an idea and some snippets of what it shows.

A cheeky monkey takes control over of your day, doing unnecessary things which you somehow do not have control over, and it continues to procrastinate.

However, there is only one thing that is able to stop the monkey which is… “The Panic Monster!”. Until panic strikes you, you are not able to focus on the things you should be doing, and you continue to procrastinate. Which is exactly what happens to me!

So here are some tips from procrastinator to procrastinator, to get the instant gratification monkey off the ship, so you can take back control.

1. Set yourself short deadlines – break down a task into smaller chunks and give yourself short deadlines for each part.

2. Create a procrastination free workspace – Keep any devices that would distract you out of sight, as this can affect your focus, or lockdown websites such as Netflix for a limited amount of time.

3. Do the difficult and important tasks first – these will use the most energy therefore it makes sense to do them first, compared to later on in the day when you’re tired, forcing you to put if off for another day.

4. Make the task harder – the satisfaction you will receive from completing this task will be greater, and it may even make it less boring!

5. Follow the 5-minute rule: If you really want to put something off, convince yourself to do it for 5 minutes. Once you start, you may end up finishing the whole task. Once you do this, your day develops an attitude of effectiveness and productivity.

Hopefully the video and tips get you out of bed, to put those snacks away, shut your laptop down, and get you working!

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