How to stop procrastinating? We’ve all heard something like this:
I work better under pressure.
I don’t feel like working, but tomorrow I’ll surely be in a better mood.
I’m not inspired today, I’ll just leave it for now.
I will write twice as much tomorrow.
– Said a procrastinator.
Replies to these statements, of course, are: “No, you don’t.”, “No, you’re not.”, “Don’t you dare.” and: “Haha!”.
This is your guide if you ever said something like that. Learn how to stop procrastinating.
Why do we procrastinate?
Working better under pressure is a myth. Deadline is an incentive, of course, but not when it’s tomorrow! A study of two groups, each given the same task and deadline (control group had a schedule, experimental group had none), has shown that the ones who worked on a schedule never complained about the task, while the ones who left it all for later, praising themselves to work better under pressure, stated they wanted more time to finish the task.
NaNoWriMo veterans will know this to be true. The winners are the proof that a deadline gives you a little push to work but that schedule must exist if you want to win it.
We all feel down from time to time and we think the next day would be better – it usually isn’t. Especially if we hope to do both days’ work in a day.
We put too much pressure on ourselves and we crack, underachieve and loose all our productivity. In truth, we punish ourselves.
Your brain is your frenemy – remember that. It gives you loads of creativity and productiveness but it seeks a reward – once it gets it, it doesn’t care about you.
A reward is a stimulus for your brain. It’s simple as that. But, you mustn’t get used to receiving pleasant hormone doses before earning your reward. A break from hard work is a great way to reward yourself, so is sugar, so is everything that relaxes you and makes you happy.
The mistake we do too often is we take a break before we start working.
How to change?
First thing you should to is get your sleep cycle organized. Six to eight hours of sleep is the best range. The lack of sleep is your worst enemy. Whenever I sleep less than six hours I feel completely dead, I feel the lack of oxygen in my brain, I can’t breathe properly.
Too much sleep will do the same thing. You’ll wake up lazy and won’t feel like working.
Next thing, find your best time to work. I like waking up between 8 and 9 A.M. and working right away while drinking my morning coffee. That’s the best time for me to start – it shapes the rest of my day. If you’re an evening person, set your evening time and be sure to be ready for work when the time comes.
But what if you’re really not up to it? What if it really isn’t your day?
Start it anyway but decide to work for only ten minutes. That’s not too long, you can handle writing anything for ten minutes. Once those ten minutes fly by you’ll either decide to work for ten more minutes or won’t know how to stop!
Trust me, I did it with this post! And here we are, nearing the end.
Do you meditate? Why would you when it’s the definition of boring? Well, that’s a common opinion but the truth is there is nothing that can help you like meditation. I do it daily and no, I don’t do the humming in a lotus position. Meditation, as a concept is the process of clearing one’s mind. I sit/stand by the window for circa ten minutes and watch the trees while listening to some calm or inspirational music. I think or I don’t. It’s a wonderful way to relax your brain from thinking.
And finally, we come back to rewarding our brains. If you work for an hour, take a ten minute break and continue. If it doesn’t suit you, find another ration (half an hour to a five minute break). This way you’ll give your brain what it wants but won’t loose the will.
Persuade yourself to work and once you start all the load will seem much easier.
Author: Mladen Reljanović
Mladen Reljanović is the founder and lead writer at Writer to Writers. He is the author of Oaktown stories, senior student of communication and a pianist.