I finally beat procrastination

The entries on kinaesthetic, visual, auditory and read-and-write learning are coming along great, but while I finish my research on those topics I just wanted to share what I think is my first real finding on this blog. When you do a lot of research, it becomes easy to just regurgitate other peoples’ ideas. But this time, I’ve finally figured out a method to beat my own procrastination, in a way that I think can be of use to a lot of you.

I really enjoy listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Some people are more into listening to music, so I suggest doing what you like, whether it is listening to the radio or your favourite playlist, as long as it leaves you able to move about freely while being able to use your hands. Many people struggle to leave their houses or apartments to go for a jog. However, when they are out on the track in their trainers, they have no option but to run, so actually doing the exercise becomes a lot less overwhelming than when you were inside, contemplating putting on those jogging shorts.

When you’ve figured out what your preferred entertainment is, you can put your brain into “robot-mode”. This is what I call it when I am doing things that demand nothing of me mentally, but still needs to be done, like doing dishes or laundry. Setting up a home studying area is yet another one of these activities. You can do this in public as well, but this process will likely require less time when you’re at a library or in school, as you’ve already packed your bags with the books and school supplies you need. Ironically, to beat procrastination, I’ve found that I need to trick my brain with some “pretend-procrastinating” for just a few minutes, before I get into the real course work. Therefore, after I’ve set up my study station, with as few items as possible, I continue robot-mode for just a couple more minutes, while I gather my thoughts and draw an overly elaborate header or write on a separate piece of paper how I want to portion out my work. Preferably, you could set aside some time before you work to plan what you would like to do, but I often times use this as an excuse to procrastinate even more, and plan my workloads for weeks ahead, justifying it by telling myself that it’s school related. I find that as long as I have some overarching ideas on what I would like to accomplish, those few minutes in robot-mode is enough to figure out how I would like to organize my tasks.

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Then comes the crucial part, where you have to exit robot-mode, turn off your audiobook, and actually do the work. Usually, I’m not up for studying even after all that prepping. I have to trick my brain again, by telling myself, “Okay, if you just work for five minutes, you can have a break.” Then I set the timer, work intensively for five minutes, and get the same feeling that the aforementioned jogger got, and think to myself “this isn’t so bad,” and turn the timer to the full 25 minutes of a pomorodo. Usually the “runners high”, or in this case “studying high”, is enough to keep me going until the tasks or my revision is completed.

Many times, I’ve asked some of my more studious friends, “how do you force yourself to start working?” and “how do you beat procrastination?” hoping to figure out a magic fix to solve my own problems. Usually they reply that they do just that, force themselves. It seems as if procrastination isn’t as big of an issue as it is for me. I’ve come to terms with the fact that people are different, and while some people need simple tricks to wake themselves up in the morning, like apps with equations to solve before the alarm turns off, others just bounce out of bed, bright and early every morning at 7 AM. We each have our own struggles, which is why we need to find our own best working conditions. Next week’s blog entry will might help some of you to do just that, and I will make sure to include links and other resources so you can figure out your own methods.

Best of luck beating your procrastination monster!

– Benedicte

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I finally beat procrastination

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