Monday, July 28, 2014

Anti-Procrastination Techniques

as collected by Shayla Poling

Whether you're writing the next Harry Potter, a future classic, or that 10-page final that needs to be done by noon tomorrow, you will face the enemy of all writing: procrastination. A beast that haunts the mind and hungers for productivity, procrastination can convince you to do almost anything to avoid your work. If you ever find yourself cleaning the house instead of typing out your thesis/novel/blog post/extremely important life-changing Facebook status, the following tricks may be for you.

  1. Cut off all access to the internet by disconnecting from your wifi network, pulling out your ethernet cable, or both. You may also want to throw your phone or tablet at least halfway across the room. This will make browsing the internet just inconvenient enough to stop you from doing it unless you get truly desperate.
  2. Remove all objects from your desk. Fiddling can be surprisingly entertaining when the alternative is getting something done. For example, I just spent at least five minutes messing with a rubber band on my desk instead of writing this blog post.
  3. Learn to recognize these agents of procrastination. It may save your life.
  4. Get all cleaning done before your scheduled writing time. Make sure to clear every nook and cranny of dust, lest you find some excuse to get up from your chair and leave your writing unfinished.
  5. Likewise, make sure that all other chores have been finished ahead of time.
  6. You don't need a snack.
  7. You don't need to drink your entire soda in one gulp just so you'll have an excuse to get up and get another one.
  8. You just walked the dog. You don't need to walk the dog again. The dog doesn't need to be walked twice an hour. If you didn't walk the dog before sitting down to write, refer back to number 4 so that you won't make that mistake a second time.
  9. Stop drawing cats all over that piece of paper. I thought I told you to remove ALL objects from your desk. Paper is an object. Pencils are objects. You're very bad at following directions, aren't you?
  10. No. This is not useful. This will never be useful.
  11. I see your pointer drifting toward that offline game. Don't you dare click that icon.
  12. I mean it.
  13. You'll just be hurting yourself!
  14. There we go. Why don't we add a rule to fend off further temptation. How about: Move all video game icons from your Desktop to a special folder. Label it something repulsive to dissuade yourself from browsing through it.
  15. Replace spiders with your phobia of choice.

You can customize this list of tips by studying your own behavior closely. How do you waste time? What excuses "force" you to get up from your computer? These simple questions can help you develop strategies to beat back procrastination and finally get some real work done.

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