Procrastination and Ways to Avoid It
Procrastination is the avoidance of completing or even beginning a task or assignment that needs to be accomplished. Another aspect of procrastination is seeking out and actually participating in events or things that you find enjoyable to avoid those tasks that need to be done. Procrastination is common, especially among those who are trying to complete a degree program. Remember, pursuing a degree of higher education doesn’t usually come easy and takes some concerted effort to achieve.
Here are some ways to help you avoid procrastination or catch it before it gets out of control:
- Track your excuses and hold yourself responsible.
Observe when you’re making excuses and what those excuses are. You need to own your actions and hold yourself responsible for when you make excuses.
- Turn big projects into a bunch of smaller ones
Break larger projects into smaller pieces that aren’t as overwhelming. Several smaller tasks are easier to achieve over a longer period of time instead of trying to complete a large, intense project in a shorter time period.
- Trick yourself and make a deal with yourself
When working on a project and procrastination rears its ugly head, find a small, maybe even enjoyable, piece of the project that can be accomplished quickly or with little effort. Focus on that piece for a while or complete it before attempting to go back to the more difficult pieces of the project. Make a deal with yourself that if you work hard for a set amount of time (15-20 minutes), you can take a break. While it might cause the project to be completed at a slower pace, it will show progress which will help keep the procrastination at bay.
- Set realistic goals
Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Consider all aspects of your project or paper and the other things you have going on in your life and create goals and time frames that are attainable.
- Be aware of your environment
Are there distractions, such as family obligations or noisy housemates, that are going to encourage procrastination? If so, try to find another environment, such as a coffee shop or local library, to work on your project.
- Practice self-discipline
Sometimes you need to bear down and push through the desire to push an assignment off.
- Reward Yourself
Be sure to reward yourself when you have accomplished a task…big or small. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate reward, just something to help you stay motivated and continue to make progress on that particular project or task, or future ones.