Procrastination. AKA: the thief of time.
I would argue that everyone is prone to some form of procrastination, and sometimes a good slob day is what we need. But knowing how to tackle it at times when you really need to stop procrastinating is a key skill, and is a skill that will always need refining.
But I’m here to tell you that you can steal your time back and stop being a victim to procrastination. I would know – I used to be procrastination’s weakest victim.
My entire 1st year was spent going to bed at 3am, waking up at midday, missing lectures, and leaving EVERY essay until the night before. Yes, I wish this were an exaggeration.
Though I’m still not perfect, I have come a long way since. But just because you can’t get things perfect straight away doesn’t mean you should give up, and you’re not inadequate for getting it wrong. So here’s a few things that I’ve found have really helped.
Be strict with your bedtime/morning alarms
Okay, so I’ll admit I was kind of forced into this one.
I needed to start doing more morning shifts at work, which meant having to wake up at 5am. This totally threw me, and I realised I needed to get used to waking up much earlier.
Typically, whenever my alarm went off, I would fall back asleep without even realising, and wake up at about 10am. I tried everything, the Sleep Cycle app, shoving an alarm clock on the other side of the room, the whole lot.
However, after much trial and error, I now seem to be able to get myself up successfully at about 6/7am on weekdays even when I don’t have work. And the best way to do this was to be strict with myself. In order to wake up early, I had to go to bed early. That meant trying to use up more energy during the day, even if it was simply a walk to the shops, and beginning to wind down in bed earlier than usual. Then, whenever my alarm went off, my body had enough sleep, so it finally began to stop resisting the sudden awakenings by involuntarily going back to sleep.
After repeating this step every day, I believe I have now conditioned my body to think about doing this as a natural response, so now once I’ve checked my phone, my brain is wide awake enough to stay up.
Though I’ll admit I don’t always spend the first few hours of the morning productively, it still means I have more time later in the day to actually be productive… As I said, baby steps…
Buy a cute organiser
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about handwritten notes that feels so much more professional and useful than online notes, which can often get lost under the cluster of junk I have on my phone.
So I thought it was worth spending the money on a nice diary that I’d actually WANT to keep organised and neat. In Brighton we have a really cute home decor shop called HomeSense, and I picked up this planner for about £3.99.
I decided to splash the cash on this one as opposed to the ones I liked in Poundland as it was exactly what I’d been looking for in terms of layout and design.
This has really helped me to plan out my days visually and see what my upcoming weeks look like. I can now see how far away deadlines are, when my shifts are, and try to divide my time accordingly (I may currently be avoiding deadlines as I write this but we can ignore that for now).
‘What does eating healthy have to do with procrastinating?’ You may cry.
Well, a lot actually.
Though I am in a constant struggle with my body’s constant cravings for anything sweet and unhealthy, my diet has improved massively since I began university, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how it affects my mindset.
Whenever I eat healthy, I always feel so much more on top of my life.
Even just plopping a lemon into my water at the beginning of the day makes me feel fresh and ready to start working. Though this step is unlikely to make you be productive as such, I certainly feel like it’s an aid to keep the productive flow going.
For example, when I’m eating cookies, it’s much more tempting to snuggle into bed and binge watch documentaries. Whereas if I’m sipping away on lemon water, I feel like walking outside to breathe fresh air and go for a run and write a book and conquer the world (one step at a time, but you know, it’s nice to have those motivational bursts).
Also, eating healthy definitely doesn’t have to expensive (blog post to come on this later).
Surround yourself with motivational quotes
I bloody love quotes.
Isn’t there something about pinning a quote to your Pinterest board about getting your shit together that makes you feel so motivated and like you’re ready to become a true #bossassbitch?
Harbour that motivation and use it as fuel to help you stop procrastinating and get your shit together girl.
But be careful not to spend all day in bed pinning these quotes, because it can trick you into thinking you’re getting your shit together, when really it’s been 5 hours and you have a half eaten pack of cookies by your side and still no work done #motivation #bossassbitch #businesswoman.
So instead of spending time saving these quotes instead of getting off your ass and actually being productive, maybe save a good few, then read them in the morning or whenever you feel like you need a burst of inspiration.
The 5 Minute Rule
If something takes less than 5 minutes to complete, do it straight away.
I am notoriously bad at replying at emails, messages, and generally short tasks.
However, by beginning to implement this rule into my life, I am in the process of conditioning myself to do short tasks as promptly as possible. Yes, it might feel long winded to go down to Tesco’s and get some bread, but if it takes less than 5 minutes, it’s probably worth getting it out of the way.
Why is this rule so important with helping to stop procrastinating? Well, because it gets all those little annoying tasks that seem to cause the most stress ticked off your list, and allows you to just crack on with the more important stuff.
I hope these tips have helped you, and don’t feel like a failure if you’re prone to procrasination, as I swear things will soon click into place with practice (as cliche as that sounds).
Don’t let procrasination take over your life, but also be kind to yourself when it does happen. After all, it’s only natural.
Let me know if these tips were helpful & leave a comment below!