Confronting Procrastination Head-On

So I know I’ve said it before: I’m a procrastinator. I’ve spent the last month doing all my homework at the last minute and very little for my thesis. See, I had this little plan: I’d spend every weekday morning from 9am till noon doing homework, working on my thesis and studying for my professional teaching exams. That lasted all of two weeks. When my professor told me I ought to be spending 12 hours per class a week, I got overwhelmed and quit my study plan. Then I got behind, started making youtube videos on social issues, watching youtube, hulu, netflix, etc. Let’s just say I got really behind. I was desperate and I needed a solution. So I went to talk to a counselor and here is what she suggested.

Give your laptop to your boyfriend or roommate, and ask them to hide it and not give it back until Monday morning. And that’s exactly what I did. I’ve been computerless since friday at noon, and I still have about 24 hours till I get it back. Hence, the cellphone blogging. BUT, I’ve done more homework in the past two days than I have in the last month. And really, it wasn’t as much as I thought I had to do. See, when I get bored, the only thing I have to do is homework. So if you’ve already procrastinated to the extreme, have somebody take away your biggest source of distraction— yes, you will feel like a punished child–and the only thing you will have left to do is the work.

If you’ve managed to not procrastinate too badly (or even if you have), yet another thing you can do is only do a little work at a time. For me, feeling like I have to do all of something at once, like read 30 pages of boring homework, I’ll wait and wait until I have no other choice. But if I read one section at a time over a few days, it goes by much quicker and I’m done before I realize I am.

Or, you can limit the amount of time spent doing work. If you really have a short attention span, spend 20 minutes at a task and then spend an hour doing something you want to do. Normally, I don’t like this tip, because it alone doesn’t work for me. However, it actually works really well in conjunction with me not having my laptop. I spend 30 minutes or an hour doing homework, and then I’m off the hook. Eventually I’ll get bored not doing anything, and I’ll go back to doing work without looking at the time. Then, usually I end up spending more time on my work than I intend to, thus getting it finished.

So if you are a procrastinator like me, shut down your computer and give it to somebody for a day or two. And if you can’t do that because you have a desktop– have somebody change the password. And if you need your computer to write a paper or something- write it by hand, go to a computer lab in the library, or create a user ID that only permits access to what you need. Get creative: you spent all this time researching procrastination, I’m sure you can dream up a way to prevent yourself from using the internet as a form of procrastination.

Good Luck

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