How to Stop Procrastinating

I have, in my life, read hundreds of articles about procrastination; why it’s bad, how to stop, what your life would be like if you didn’t do it. I should note that I read many of these articles in lieu of working on a paper, project, or lesson plan.

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But recently I came across* a tip that worked. It’s not a long-term solution, it won’t break anyone of the habit, but in those moments where you just can’t get started, this works.

The tip: do nothing for a few minutes.

Yeah, that’s the big magic, stop doing anything. Literally sit somewhere, eyes open, and force yourself to stop; no tv, no phone, no nothing. Understand that this isn’t meditation, your thoughts are there and they’ll eat you alive while you’re forced to just sit there.

I tried this last night because it was 7 in the evening and I was still unable to get going on this state certification project that’s slowly draining my soul. Honestly, it seemed pretty stupid but I was desperate.

I sat on my couch and had to stop myself from planning things out in my head and picking up my phone, I even caught myself looking at my bookcases, deciding how I will pack the books when we move. But finally I put all of that aside and I felt…bored as hell. More importantly, the pressure to work on my project was unavoidable without distraction.

ahh-procrastination

I went for what I thought was ten minutes and finally decided to just get started on the damn project. When I picked up my phone it had been two minutes. Two minutes.

I think this was so effective because my entire being really did want to get going on this project and make headway, but my brain just kept finding activities that brought me more immediate joy. Without those things, or any other stimulus, I was left with that urgency to work and couldn’t ignore it.

Like I said before, this is not a cure to procrastination, but if you find yourself really stuck and unable to get going, give this a shot. And then come back and tell me about your experience in the comments: negative, positive, meh, I want to hear it all.

Best of luck

get-to-work-bitch

*I wish I could remember my source but my overstressed brain can’t recall. Terrible historian alert, not citing her sources.

Francesca M. Healy

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10 thoughts on “How to Stop Procrastinating

  1. You know, I think I accidentally sorta stumbled across this method fairly recently, all on my own. Maybe it just magically appeared in my brain (maybe by osmosis from you even!) because now pretty much the only deadlines I ever have to deal with are the self-imposed ones, which so easily and often move to the right! If I’d tried this when I did have non self imposed deadlines, I’m not sure I would have had the strength of mind (over matter) to be able to clear my mind, even ever so briefly, like you did, you strong minded person, you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Self-imposed deadlines are the hardest kind, I’ve always just find that they don’t store the same fear for me as deadlines for other people. Hopefully this trick will work in any case though!

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  2. I am the worst kind of procrastinator. I mean it is BAD! I won’t clean for a week but I dare you to tell me “we have company coming over in ten minutes” and GIRL In 5 minutes I can have 2,000 square feet so clean you can eat off my toilets!!!! I work under pressure and it’s awful! I think your tip is probably the best advice I’ve ever reveived. Pure genius. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am the exact same way! Honestly this method is helpful at crunch time but I don’t think procrastinating is the worst thing ever. I work really well under pressure because of years of doing it by necessity. I usually try to teach my students little tricks but in general I just want them to learn to procrastinate well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love this! YES. I think by nature, a procatrinator is a procrastinator. Now, learning how to “do it well” it probably the key, you’re totally right! And you’re clearly a realistic, and awesome teacher! Good for you! We need fresh-thinking teachers out in the world. Times have changed and so should the text books rules!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This has never happen to me before for some strange reason.
    However, I do zone out here and there…but that’s because I was going through something. If this – ever does happen to me, I’ll be sure to let you know and share my experience with you.

    Procrastination is the thief of time. ~ Edward Young

    Liked by 1 person

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