Beat procrastination

Last week, my friend and study partner found out how terribly lazy and what a master procrastinator I can be. You’ve probably heard of writer’s block? I was stuck with a “study block”. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t focus and instead could see any other project needing immediate attention. I could see what I was doing and even wrote down a few notes as time passed.

2:02 pm: started reviewing… Felt hungry, looking for something to snack on… I didn’t really like these vegetable crisps, it’s been too long since I’ve eaten them last time…
… One more look at the news. There was a prominent event that influenced Dubai that day….
… Just 2 more games of Mah-jong. I lost the first one, so I had to play the second one…
2:39 pm: got a bit done… Time to look at the telly again and to take a break with a cup of tea. My tea is already cold and the smell of the chips is annoying me. Better put the bag in the bin. Oh, it’s getting really interesting on the TV now…
2:43 pm: only 4 minutes lost, not feeling too bad about it. Better continue…
…No, just one more game…
3:21 pm: finally working on my review again. Yeah!
3:31 pm: That’s done. Now let’s start the questions. Maybe I can play one quick game of Mah-jong….

Something that should have taken me about 20 minutes took 1 ½ hours. That’s 4.5 times the original time!! To beat procrastination and to gain your time back, try these tips:

  1. Block out distractions. TV, the internet, your phone or even your family can be distractions. You can use software to block certain or all internet pages for specific times. Turn your phone or at least put it on silent. Ask your family to respect your need to work on this activity.
  2. If it helps you, put on a noise cancellation headset. Still, if you need to complete a monotone activity (e.g. ironing your shirts), you may want to listen to music.
  3. Work with a timer as Geralin Thomas suggests. Setting a time limit lets you see the end of the activity and encourages you to focus on it. After all, it’s not going to take the entire day if you’re setting the alarm on your phone.
  4. Work according to your daily energy cycle. If you’re not a morning person, there’s no point in getting up at 6 am and working on a topic if you’re still tired and unable to concentrate. Find your productive time periods.
  5. Have someone hold you accountable. You may want to consider holding yourself accountable. In the end, your time is valuable! If you never calculated how much your time is worth, try this free test.
  6. As you’ll still need to complete this activity, you may as well just bite the bullet. You can find more about it in this previous post.

Have you procrastinated with a project this week? How did you pull yourself up and got going again? I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Until next time,


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