Ever find yourself on an energy drink-fueled bender at 3 A.M. trying to write a paper you were assigned a week ago? Or wondering how you found yourself trying to do 4 assignments at once in an attempt to make up for watching Netflix instead of checking your calendar? As an expert procrastinator, I have some tips to help break the habit.
1. Write Things Down
When I first began to realize I had a problem with waiting until the last minute, I began writing EVERYTHING down. I'm talking from what time I planned to get my morning Starbucks to when I planned to go to bed at night. Not only did this force me to not get off-task or distracted, it allowed me to see exactly what I have to do and how much time I have to do it.
2. Start With Your Hardest Task Every Day
I find that if you take the biggest problem you have every morning and tackle it first, everything else on your list just seems small in comparison. If you leave the hardest task as your last thing to do for the day, chances are you are going to just push it off until the next day. Until you find yourself realizing your once-small task that seemed hard is now kind of just a looming disaster.
3. Bargain With Yourself
As always, I bribe myself to get things done. If you tell yourself you can go out on Friday night if you finish all of your assignments for the following Monday, you are more likely to take what you are doing seriously than if you just did things on the list with no incentive. Even small bribes work — you can buy yourself pizza if you sit down and stop scrolling through the same Instagram feed you've been scrolling through for the past hour.
4. Literally Just Putting Your Phone Down
If I could count the times I go from studying in the library to flying through my flashcards to favoriting tweets of dogs, I would probably break some type of record. As great as phones are for society, they are just a distraction, plain and simple. I find that shutting my phone off for an hour lets me concentrate instead of having the unbearable urge to Snapchat all of my friends back, check the GroupMe, or start descending down a rabbit hole on Reddit.