10 ways to stop procrastinating
1 – Download the SelfControl App:
This app allows you to block certain websites for a chosen amount of time. And when I say block certain websites, you can actually do things like restart your computer, restart your Internet or throw your laptop against a wall and it still won’t load. One of the most underrated inventions of all time, SelfControl is something I swear by when I have a deadline I need to complete.
2 – Hide your phone:
Unfortunately, SelfControl doesn’t exist for phones. So if you’re like me, you just end up scrolling through Facebook on your phone because you blocked it on your computer. And then, once that gets boring, you begin to text people — your mom, that kid you met one time at the White Spot — who you really shouldn’t be texting at this moment or, arguably, ever. Procrasti-texting is the new drunk texting. Don’t fall for it. Put your phone somewhere out of reach so you won’t be tempted.
3 – Surround yourself with people on the bottom floor of Clemons:
Because you’re on the bottom floor of Clemons, also known as the scariest and saddest place on Earth, you can’t make any noise without receiving death stares from people pretending to do work. By surrounding yourself with people who can probably see your computer screen, they’ll be judging you every time you compulsively open Chrome. Couple this with the fact that you can’t speak, and you’ll be too scared to do anything but work.
4 – Make a to-do list:
Start by adding the little stuff you’ve already completed so you can cross things off and feel accomplished. But really, seeing all the work you need to complete and when you need to complete it all in one place can be enough motivation to start getting your life together. You will feel so much better being able to visualize what you’ve accomplished. It also helps to make sure you don’t forget anything.
5 – Leave your bed:
Studying in your bed may be one of the most dangerous ideas ever. You’re surrounded by pillows, so what is stopping you from leaning over and taking a nap? Even if you try to rationalize it by thinking, “I’m only going to nap for 20 minutes and that’s it,” those 20 minutes will inevitably turn into two hours and soon you’re on a fast track to nowhere. Switch up your location so you’re not tempted by the familiarity of your room and bed.
6 – Set deadlines:
Strive to accomplish something every hour or so. By setting deadlines, you give yourself less time to let your mind wander off and you get a better sense of how much time you actually need to spend working for the day. Those six hours you spend in Starbucks could have easily been three if you hadn’t been so distracted by the girl who just ordered a Venti Iced Extra-Cold Skinny Two-Pump Caramel Unsweetened Vanilla Latte with room for milk. Who even does that anyway?
7 – Tell everyone about your goals:
How awkward would it be to have told everyone what you’re going to do only to accomplish none of it? Make your friends your personal life coaches. Tell them what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it, and have them promise you to encourage/insult you along the way. If you’re like me, you’ll soon get tired of their probably not-so-encouraging words and get your work done just to get them off your back. Bonus to this one: Once you finish your work, you can distract them with no personal repercussions.
8 – Get off Facebook:
This deserves a category of its own. Why have I clicked on my U.Va. class group seven times in the past five minutes? Are you seriously going to post about politics one more time? How did I end up on the profile of a girl from Australia with whom I have zero mutual friends? Why is she so pretty? Why does she dress so well? How am I already on picture 207? Has it really been two hours? Don’t pretend it hasn’t happened to you.
9 – Reward yourself:
Every time you finish a reading or an assignment, reward yourself with something small. Eat something, scroll through a page or two of Perez or just exhale and think about the weekend. Work can be exhausting and letting your body know you’ve been doing a good job is perfect motivation to keep going. Just don’t reward yourself with too much — ordering a different kind of takeout to the library after every page you read is a little overboard and it makes everything around you smell like onions. I speak from experience.
10 – Stay out of your email:
You think it’s harmless. In fact, you’re sort of getting something done by finally responding to the 14 emails your parents sent you. But when those emails include 10-minute videos of your brother’s junior varsity football interceptions, articles about your old high school or a Drew Brees/One Direction collaboration in a Pepsi ad, it’s time to close your email and ignore those Listserv messages you don’t actually care about. Much like texting, avoid gchat at all costs.