As we get closer to the end of the semester, I cannot help but notice how time flies as paper deadlines and exam dates seem to grow closer and closer. If you’re like me, you probably have been losing motivation as you focus on surviving (and maybe thriving) in the present and not on the future. For me, this is a slippery slope into stress and procrastination. Balancing the lack of motivation and the desire for my work to be good can be difficult and cause stress.
So here are some TedTalks for how to fight off procrastination and stress so you can be more productive:
1. Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator (Tim Urban)
According to Urban, we all have a “Panic Monster” that scares us into action and explains why procrastinators do so well under pressure. However, no deadlines means no Panic Monster scaring them into action and is why many chronic procrastinators can be unhappy: “The frustration is not that they couldn’t achieve their dreams; it’s that they weren’t even able to start chasing them.” So we need to take a long, hard look at the “Life Calendar” and create our own deadlines to motivate us into action.
2. The Surprising Habits Of Original Thinkers (Adam Grant)
As a teacher, Grant has found that moderate procrastinators are more creative than the chronic procrastinators and “precrastinators”, or those who rush in and do everything early. For Grant, this is because “procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.”
3.Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work (Jason Fried)
Just like you don’t sleep well if interrupted, Fried claims that being productive requires a block of uninterrupted time or you risk having to go back a few phases and start again. To increase your productivity, he suggests putting away distracting things like your phone and email “and then you can be interrupted on your own schedule, at your own time, when you’re available, when you’re ready to go again.” He also suggests going for an entire afternoon without talking to anyone so you can work uninterrupted.
4. How To Succeed? Get More Sleep (Arianna Huffington)
“I’m here to tell you that the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.” Since her experience of fainting from exhaustion, Huffington has become a big supporter of sleep. She wants to end the ‘sleep deprivation one-upmanship’ or bragging about how little sleep you got.
5. How To Make Stress Your Friend (Kelly McGonigal)
“When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.” For McGonigal, the key is changing your mindset from stress as harmful to your body’s response to stress as helping you rise to the challenge.
6. How To Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed (Daniel Levitin)
When we get stressed, our brain is flooded with cortisol that can cloud our thinking. So if you know that you will be stressed, Levitin suggests that “you look ahead and you try to figure out all the things that could go wrong, and then you try to figure out what you can do to prevent those things from happening, or to minimize the damage.” As students, consider doing things like saving your papers in multiple places and printing out extra copies. As you get ready for exams, consider setting multiple extra alarms in case you miss your normal one so you don’t sleep through your exam!
Hopefully these TEDTalks will have motivated you to finish off the semester strong and to not procrastinate too much! Just remember that you can do it!