Getting Your Head in the Game: Anti-Procrastination Tips

Procrastination. Almost all of us have to deal with it in some way, but when you’re working on a project where the only communication is long distance and you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder, it’s a situation that can get exacerbated. So here’s some tips for dealing with it.

  • Try and do things that put you in a ‘work-mode’ frame of mind. Sit yourself down in a place that you associate with work. So a desk rather than a more comfortable lounging chair, or perhaps a library rather than at home. If you’re working on the weekend, avoid wearing your pyjamas all day, this could put you into a ‘relax-mode’ frame of mind. I have some music that I tend to listen to while studying for school, so I listen to that while working too. Even using a particular writing implement: I’ve been advised to study with the same pen/pencil I’m going to write a test with. These little things can honestly help
  • Sunlight. Especially during the winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects a lot of people. Plus, having the extra light is better for your eyes
  • Schedule time. Put aside a couple hours of ‘class’ time a couple days a week dedicated to this. Put it in your calendar. Write it down. Tell people you will be busy then
  • Write out a detailed to-do list. What do you need to get done? When does it need to be done by? Just writing it out will help cement it in your head
  • Ask for help. Yes, you’re behind and asking simple questions is going to betray that. But not getting the help is only going to put you further behind and make you want to work even less. Swallow that pride! The mentors are awesome guys! They really want to help, they’re not going to be super harsh.
  • Related to this, hang around the IRC chat. That way the option to ask about stuff is always right there and it doesn’t seem like a big deal
  • It’s fine to try and find answers on your own, but keep an eye on how long you’re spending on this. If it’s taking more than an hour, it’s probably time to talk to someone
  • Consider getting the people around you to help. If you concentrate better while working around other people, get a group of friends together to work with. Maybe get family members to nag you.
  • Try to be aware of why you might procrastinate and what your habits are. If you know what you’re likely to do, you can try to combat it. I know that one of the hardest steps for me is to just get started. Once I’ve begun, I can get into the zone. So I tell myself things like ‘well just make this one small change that’s super easy and go from there’. Then before I know it, an hour has gone by and lots has gotten done!
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