Breaking the Cycle
September 24, 2019
Despite all the things procrastination costs us, learning from our mistakes is easier said than done. Some of us don’t even consider breaking out of the habit.
Ly shares an alternate attitude towards procrastination. “I tried to fix my procrastination in the beginning, but there came a point where it’s working for me. It’s not becoming a big deal in my grades, so I don’t really have a reason to fix it,” she said.
Some even assert that procrastination makes them more efficient than non-procrastinators. “There’s a mentality where people would say, ‘I can do this in five minutes, can you?’” Ly said.
Procrastination looks different for everyone, but for those of us trying to break the cycle, the solution starts from within.
“Take time to identify exactly where you’re at and your goals. I don’t think we give ourselves enough time to do that,” Ragland said.
She shared that Mark Twain’s advice has been especially helpful: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
If that’s too intimidating, Antrim recommends another approach. “Pick one thing to start with, work on it on some sort of regular schedule. Once you see yourself succeeding there, then try the next piece,” she said.
After we’ve decided to beat procrastination and to do it in a way that works for us, the next step is to put ourselves in an environment that supports our efforts.
“If you’re just sitting at home by yourself and there’s no distraction, it’s easier to knock it out and get it done,” Spears said. “It depends on what you can put in the place of the thing you don’t want to do.”
It makes sense. If you know you’re tempted to choose the easier alternative to the task at hand, eliminate the alternative.
Lundbeck testifies to the effectiveness of this strategy. “For the entirety of the AP World History project, I set my phone in my kitchen. I told myself if I am on my phone, I’m not going to get this done,” he said.Not only that, a supportive environment also includes someone who will make sure you commit to your efforts today, again tomorrow, and again the next day. Right now, that person is me. Go write that English paper.