Tips for avoiding procrastination
As I mentioned in my last post, I was interviewed for the Personal Best programme on BBC Radio Scotland. They wanted to know what advice I give to students on how they can overcome procrastination. Here’s the link to the programme while it is still available: Personal Best: Procrastination
Here are the main points I made:
Remove your distractions
If you tend to procrastinate by doing things around your home (e.g. making tea, doing housework), work somewhere else like a library or cafe. Or if you procrastinate by checking your phone or emails, turn off your mobile data or wifi or use an internet restriction app
. Consider using the Pomodoro technique
Mark importance of your tasks on your to-do list
This one helps me the most. I don’t really suffer from distractions, but I do find myself choosing simple, low-priority and putting off the difficult, time-consuming (but very important) stuff. To stop myself from doing that, I mark things as on my to-do list, so I’m conscious about the choices I’m making about what to do when.
Just do it!
One of the reasons we put off the important stuff is because we are overwhelmed by the perceived difficulty or length of time the task will take. But often when we finally sit down and get started, we find it is not so bad and wonder why we made such a big deal of it!
Be kind to yourself
Remember that tendency to procrastinate is not a personality failing. A research study showed that students who forgave themselves after procrastinating before a test were less likely to procrastinate before a second test.
Ted talk: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator (Tim Urban)
Podcast: PsychCrunch Episode 10: How to stop procrastinating