“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”
― Rita Mae Brown
The more time we have, the more time we take. It’s the way of procrastination. Try utilizing the 4 steps below to get started and stop procrastinating.
1. Chunk down an assignment, project, or task.
Often times, we procrastinate because we are overwhelmed by the amount of time we perceive an assignment, project, or task will take, or we don’t know how to do it. Chunking it down into segments that feel doable (content and time) will not only allow us to get started but allows us to know if we need help or clarification on expectations. Taking the step to ask for help is also getting started. So this step is really a two-step process, chunking it down and then determining if we know how to do each chunk. If it’s doable and doesn’t feel as though it will take a lot of time, we are likely to get started. If we don’t know how to do a segment of the chunking, we can ask for assistance, which is also getting started. Win win!
2. Schedule it.
Once we have our task chunked down and know we know how to do the chunked tasks, we schedule a time to do it/them. It can be a specific time, like 5pm, or it can be before or after a fixed activity during the day like after lunch, before baseball practice or as soon as I get home from school/class/work. If you schedule it, you are more likely to do it.
“A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”
― Bill Watterson, There’s Treasure Everywhere
So schedule it!
Staying accountable allows you follow through on your goals. Choose an accountability buddy, someone who will love you through it, won’t judge you, but also isn’t someone you can walk all over and not get things done. Having to tell someone you didn’t do what you stated you would do doesn’t feel good, so you are more likely to get started and finished if someone else is counting on you. There is a caveat here: if you let your accountability buddy know in advance something won’t get done and a new timeline for when it will, you are still a productivity rockstar.
4. Reward Yourself
You just achieved something that was truly difficult to either get started or complete. Reward yourself! Set up the reward as you are scheduling your tasks; schedule it in too! An appropriate reward is some project you’ve been excited to start, screen time of a certain amount, quality time with a family member or friend. It’s up to you and should be commensurate with the task. A car for doing a 30 minute assignment may be excessive. 🙂 It’s up to you.
These 4 steps are a start. There are certainly more reasons students/people procrastinate. If you need a deeper intervention, IET is here for you. Just email Michelle (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we can set up an appointment.