Procrastination: our own worst enemy
How can you get anything done with all these distractions?
We all fall guilty once in a while to the big nasty beast that is procrastination. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most — if not all — of us procrastinate to some degree every day. We all know that feeling: you’ve been assigned a paper or project months in advance, but somehow the night before it’s due you’re left staring at the blank computer screen and the death stare of the blinking cursor.
So you might find yourself grabbing a cup of tea before you start the big paper, or maybe even watch an episode of Breaking Bad, or the whole season for that matter. Somehow, after countless attempts at sitting down and starting to write, you find yourself stuck in a Lord of The Rings marathon and it’s almost midnight.
Dr. Ferrari from the American Psychological Association, wrote a study, that found that “20 per cent of U.S men and women are chronic procrastinators.” You may be wondering if you are a chronic procrastinator; well, if you are reading this and you go to university, chances are yes, you are.
It’s no wonder that procrastination rates are at their highest. In 1978, five per cent of the population admitted to being chronic procrastinators, compared to roughly 26 per cent of the population today, according to a study done by Piers Steele. Different studies show that procrastination is likely to increase rather than decrease in the future.
Seems like most of us would rather do laundry or organize our sock drawer then get to work on a 3000-word paper. Why is it that the wall or the ceiling can be the most interesting subject when you are trying to study for the big exam in statistics or Victorian literature? There are a couple steps that can help us fellow procrastinators get the job done.
Try breaking the work into smaller, more manageable, chunks. Ever looked at an essay and think, “Holy shit, where do I even begin?” Trust me, you’re not alone. Plan it out and take it in stride. It may help to set a timer: work for 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break.
Here are usufull apps to help you stay on task. Write or Die is an app for tablets, phones, and PCs that allows you to pick different modes that fit your deadline time: Gentle Mode prompts you with pop-ups reminding you to keep writing; Normal Mode will play unpleasant sounds, such as a baby crying or car alarm, if you stop typing; and the ultimate procrastination-buster, Kamikaze Mode, will begin deleting your work if you become distracted.
LeechBlock can also be used for those of us who have no will power to stay off of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or The Chive. You put in specific sites that distract you, set a time and it will prevent you from accessing those interruptions. In order to deactivate the block, you need a password or a random access code to make it more difficult to reset.
So when you feel yourself slowly drifting off in to la-la land and you’re opening a new tab for Netflix, bring yourself back to reality and think of the consequences if you don’t study or write that paper. Whether you’re using an egg timer or an app, keep yourself on track. And don’t forget to reward yourself for finishing that paragraph. Maybe another episode of Breaking Bad…