Now that summer is charging towards the finish line, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably asking yourself, “Did I accomplish anything this summer?”. Between juggling work, work and more work, oh and the occasional trip up north, the summer seems to fly by and the laundry list of tasks you were once so excited to check off, never even came close to being finished. So how do we end this vicious cycle before school starts back up? Follow the guide to ending summer procrastination below and you never know, maybe by the time exams roll around you’ll have one or two of those items checked off.
Step 1: Waking Up
Setting that alarm clock for 10am on weekends and waiting to get up 10 minutes before you have to leave for work, running out the door and grabbing a cup of coffee on weekdays is not, I repeat is NOT, the way to start a productive day. Instead try for 6 or 7am, down a glass of water and hop into the shower (preferably cold). Now read carefully because this is the most important part. After your alarm clock goes off, do not under any circumstances, reach for your phone and head on over to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or Flappy Bird for that matter. So, don’t even bother picking up your phone because those messages aren’t going anywhere. According to a physician by the name of Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi, looking at your phone first thing in the morning increases stress and leaves you feeling overwhelmed as “the information overload that hits [you] before you’re fully awake, interferes with your ability to prioritize tasks.”
Step 2: Keep It Quick
One of the biggest reasons we give up on tasks, is due to the fact that we simply give ourselves too much time and become bored. Think of a task as being a sprint over a marathon. Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to hone in on a task, pushing away distractions like Netflix, eating a bowl of popcorn, sending a Snapchat and of course playing with your pet (don’t worry we all waste countless hours doing it, you’re not alone). By starting the quickest parts of a task first and actually completing them, a snowball effect is created and before you know it, that website you were designing goes from a logo on a front page, to a fully functioning work of art.
Step 3: Stop Planning
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “thinking about starting a job usually takes longer than the job itself”, you’ve probably had a nice long chat with my father. His wisdom at times may seem outdated, but I think he has a point. Writing up a plan can be useful, but in many cases when we overthink something, we start putting off the tasks as they become narrow and one directional. Getting wrapped up in all the details, is a great way to never even start. Taking that first step may seem almost impossible, or so overwhelming that it doesn’t even seem worth it, but believe me, once you get the ball rolling and stop planning, the task at hand always seems to fly by.
Step 4: Reward Yourself
When you first created this fictitious list of tasks in your head, they probably seemed fun and the benefits were so clear to you, you could almost reach out and touch them. But of course, as summer limps on and jobs pile up, the rewards from your labour seem so minuscule they might as well be non-existent. Before starting a task, set leisure time before and after. Go play a game of baseball, read a book, or yes play some fetch with your dog and do all this while NOT thinking about the soon to be complete task. Surprisingly, your subconscious is always processing information even if you’re not consciously doing it. This means your brain may be coming up with new and creative solutions while you hit that home run and by the time you sit down to complete your tasks, the answers you were seeking are already at your fingertips.
Procrastination is just a mental block we all are faced with, so I hope these four steps bring you closer to completing the never-ending list we call life. Don’t procrastinate and put off living!
Vice President of Delegate Experience, DECA U Guelph 2018-2019