A guide to... the P word (TW procrastination)
What is procrastination?
Why do we procrastinate?
Say that again, but slower
And the short-term mood boost wins!
But, if procrastination is bad- why does the short-term mood boost win?
On a neural level, our brain thinks of our future selves more like a stranger than as the same person as us. Our poor brain is trying to help, it thinks we’re putting off our stuff for someone else to do!
Is reading this procrastinating?
How do we stop procrastinating?
- Accept that it will not get easier the longer you leave it. Think about the dread it’s making you feel now, and think about how that dread would be worse if you had one less day to finish it.
- Throw out perfectionism. Something okay you’ve actually done, is better than something perfect that’s still in your head.
- Just start! Starting is the hard part, when you’ve started the rest will come easier.
- Make a draft or a plan. This helps you get started start, and helps you break big scary tasks into little manageable ones.
- Reward yourself. If you would usually play video games instead of doing your coursework, spend the day doing coursework- and reward yourself with some animal crossing or some world of tanks or whatever in the evening.
- Put off fun things! This sounds daft, but when you’re incredibly bored and you’re not allowed to do fun things, you’ll be surprised how low you’ll stoop to keep yourself busy. You might even do some work! Again, reward yourself with the fun things at the end of the day. Eventually this will trick your brain into wanting to do your work in anticipation of a reward!
- Routine! Try to work at the same time every day, and after a while your brain will go into work mode at this time every day.
And google! If these tips don't help you, find something that will!
I need help now
-What is going to distract you? Remove those distractions.
-If you don’t already have one- set yourself a deadline!
-If at any point during your work you’re stuck- ask for help!
Now, for the work that you don’t want to do:
-Read into the details, figure out everything you need to do
-Make a quick plan of how it’s going to be laid out
-Break it into smaller chunks
-Make a quick draft of each chunk, it doesn’t have to be sentences yet, it can just be bullet points or ideas
-Improve each draft one at a time
-Stick the chunks back together
Et voila! You’ve tricked yourself into doing some work!
I don’t suppose you have a mnemonic?
Read the question
Plan the layout
Break it up
Draft the bits
Improve the bits
Or make your own steps and mnemonics!
Am I lazy?
Your brain is just trying to avoid negative emotions, which really is quite sweet of it. But its plan of putting stuff off doesn’t work, so get it told!
You mentioned negative emotions?
You can beat your brain’s automatic response to procrastinate by learning how to manage these negative emotions.
Ahhhhh I’m sooo stressssssed
10 stress busters
Do you have cute animal pictures for me for reading the whole thing again. Aidan?
But of course!