Procrastination is something I have become very skilled at in my old age. I always used to tell myself that I’d put things off until the last minute because I work better under pressure, but the reality is I just like finding other things to do with my time. I just like to procrastinate.
The key to fighting procrastination is to do things you enjoy, then you’ll be less likely to get distracted by menial tasks. However, that isn’t always possible when you’re a
supposed adult, so you need to find other ways to stop your mind wandering. As it’s Fight Procrastination Day, I thought I’d share a few of my tips – one geek to another.
Stop with the Netflix already
Netflix is my productivity downfall. It reigns as my ultimate procrastination technique. If you’re a bit of a Netflix fiend like myself, it’s probably the reason you’re not getting anything done. Be strong and limit yourself. Decide on a certain time of day to watch, and stop after a set number of episode. Don’t compromise. I personally like to tell myself I can only binge when I’m at the gym, that way I can catch up on Pretty Little Liars whilst running on the treadmill – two birds, one stone.
Turn off your notifications
Another one of my favourite ways to procrastinate is Social Media. As soon as you hear that beep on your phone telling you that you have a new follower, you can’t help but go and see who it is, what they like, what their friends like, and then you emerge out of the Instagram black hole two hours later wondering where the time has gone. Turn off your phone notifications. Or, if you’re on your PC – close the damn tab when you’re done. Seriously. Schedule specific times of the day to check facebook and twitter, and if your weekness is posting things, then download an app like Tweetdeck where you can plan these things in advance.
Buy some cute stationary
There’s no better way to fight procrastination and stimulate productivity than by writing a list of things you’ve got to achieve. Crossing thing’s off can be one of life’s greatest pleasures, but if you’re not a lover of the old to do list, you’re probably going to avoid them like the plague. Well, go out and buy some cute stationary. This stuff is like cat nip for humans. When you’re no longer forced to go shopping for school supplies, stationary is something you surprisingly miss, and getting a new notepad or set of pens is going to make you want to list the crap out of everything.
There is however one slight problem with making lists – you can get addicted. I find myself writing things down as a form of procrastination in itself. I’ll write a list, about writing a list. Then I’ll write two more for the hell of it. There’s no point creating these intense lists if you’re not going to cross any of it off. This is when I’d suggest creating a Bullet Journal. It’s essentially a hand made planner filled with all sorts of lists, but it’s way more organised, and you can prioritise your goals. It can also be fun, and end up looking really good, so you wont want to mess it up by filling it with a load of crap. Also – stickers.
Listen to movie soundtracks
I listen to a lot of music throughout the day, but sometimes I find I can get distracted by a particular song, and will end up grabbing my hairbrush and screaming out lyrics at the top of my lungs whilst jumping on the bed. Ok, so the hairbrush thing doesn’t happen often, but the distraction does. I found the best way to avoid this is by listening to lyric free songs. Download albums from a couple of your favourite films. You’ll still get the soothing sounds of music in your ears, but it’s merely background noise. Plus, I dare you to listen to the LOTR soundtrack and not feel inspired.
Find inspirational Quotes
There’s nothing that kicks my butt into gear more than seeing an inspirational quote from one of my favourite fandom characters. It makes me feel like they are personally routing for me to achieve, and I hella don’t want to disappoint Gandalf. Surround yourself with these amazing words, because if Liz Lemon can do it, you can too. I like to hang quotes up around my room, but you could set one as your screensaver, or even get one on a shirt to wear in the office. My personal favourites are ‘Never half ass two things, whole ass one thing’ – Ron Swanson, ‘Bitches get stuff done’ – Liz Lemon, ‘There’s nothing we can’t do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives’ – Leslie Knope.
Get inspiration from friends
Like-minded people will also inspire you. Join an online community filled with people who have similar interests as you. If you strive to blog more, find a facebook group filled with other bloggers that will offer up support and guidance. Their posts will inspire you to post more yourself, and their collective years of blogging experience will save you hours of procrastination time at a later date – you know, when you go off searching for that Wordpress plugin, and end up watching cat videos for three hours.
Tell others about your goals
Added pressure will make you want to succeed more. I’m not saying that you should get yourself so overwhelmed and stressed out that you have a heart attack, but if you tell someone about your goals, or share them on your blog, you’re kind of accountable for them. People might ask you how you’re getting on with your to do list, and you can’t very well tell them you haven’t even looked at it yet. Yes, It’s essentially a scare tactic, but it works – you don’t want anyone to judge you. Not that they will, but your brain doesn’t know that.
Make sure to give yourself a treat once in a while if you complete something on your to do list – an incentive. I’ll occasionally promise myself a trip to the comic book store on my way back from running errands down town, or a brand new Funko pop vinyl if I fill out all my accounts and don’t appear to be in my overdraft – yet. You could even promise yourself a new book if you reorganise your book case, or that skirt you’ve been eyeing up, but only once you’ve taken your old clothes to the charity shop. You could even go down the old sticker route, and give yourself a gold star every now and then.
Make time for little old geeky you
At the end of the day, only you can tell yourself when to stop and start avoiding things. The key is to make sure you have enough time for you, so that procrastination isn’t quite as tempting. Having a break every now and then to do something fun, will put you in a better mind frame to get things done. unintentional rhyming there. Sit down and read a book, go on an adventure, or play that video game, just make sure you make time to unwind. The more stressed out you are, the less likely you will want to do anything at all.
This is just a sample of the ways I combat procrastination – when you’ve been doing it for so long, you kind of pick up on these things – but everybody is different. Some people need an organised environment, some people need help from apps, and some people are so focused they don’t need help at all. Find out what works for you, and stick to it – you’ll be a productive master in no time.
Do you procrastinate? What are your favourite ways to fight procrastination?