Most of the time, people know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done but choose to procrastinate instead. For students and workers, this is a deadly habit that can result in unemployment, low grades, or, in general, overwhelming stress. It goes like this. You put off that assignment one day and your grade drops. Now, the next day, you have to do that assignment and whatever else is due that day. Let’s say you don’t finish that and now another assignment is late. It’s a vicious cycle and, if you get too lost in it all, you won’t be able to break out of it.
In high school, I was the prime culprit when it came to procrastination. I hated history class. It was my least favorite class. The teachers were knowledgeable and fun, but I just couldn’t get into it. So, every time something was assigned, I would wait until the day before to complete it. Sometimes, it didn’t even get done. This was especially the case when I had a ten page research paper due and I hadn’t even started googling my topic yet… I know. I was a mess.
Nowadays, I’m nothing like that. When something is assigned, I do it immediately. I feel anxious if I don’t. I feel like I won’t be able to catch up. So, I choose not to procrastinate and get things done when they need to be done. After all, I’m paying for my education. I’m going to make the most of it.
So, today, to help all of you, I am going to share my technique on avoiding procrastination. It’s really simple and it might even work for you.
The first thing you are going to want to do is keep a document on your computer titled “TO-DO LIST.” Now, I specifically want you to put in all capital letters. It’ll catch your eye every time you try to click on Google Chrome or Netflix. It’s a constant reminder and the guilt will ensue.
The next thing you should do is make categories for yourself. My categories include School, The Ithacan, Imprint Magazine, YouTube, and Free Writing, in that exact order. These are the major things, in my life, that need to get done. Since they are organized by importance, I know what needs to get done before I worry about something else.
The last thing you need to do is make subcategories. These should always be the days of the week. Include them all, even Saturday and Sunday. (We all have that professor.) This way, you can keep track of when things are due, as well as the need to do them in the first place. And, as you complete these tasks, start deleting them. I can honestly say that when my schedule is empty because I completed everything, it feels rejuvenating. I feel like I have time to do the fun things without any deadlines to worry about.
Another good way of keeping on track is the reward system. I always promise myself that if I do a certain amount of work, I can treat myself to something. This sometimes means video games, candy, or even just a nice nap. (But not too long… Don’t be a slug. This is something I need to work on too.) The more work you do, the more rewards you get. Who doesn’t love prizes? I do. You should, too.
The last thing I will say about this is that it isn’t confined to just a document on your computer (even though I think this is most effective). You can use a planner, a bulletin board, anything. The more important thing is to stay organized and on task.
I hope this helps some of you. If not, what’s your technique? I would love to hear about it!