Tips & Tidbits

5 Stages of Procrastination and How to Deal With Them

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Procrastination is the student’s worst enemy. It sneaks up to you and attaches itself to the back of your head and whispers reassuring lies to your ear whenever you need to get up and be productive. Once you hear it’s call it is very difficult to get back to your former active-self and actually get some work done, so for all of you sharp-witted procrastinators here are some tips and tricks you can use to fight the 5 notorious stages of I’ll-do-it-tomorrow disease.



1. Stage one: False Sense of Security

So you have a project to do, or an exam to pass or you really want to DIY something that will make your life easier or your room prettier. You collect all your resources, you set up the work environment and you tell yourself “I don’t have to start right away, I have plenty of time!” Well, you sir, have just been bitten by the ProcrastiBug, a vicious creature lurking in the shadows of book piles and DIY materials! You’re so convinced you’ll finish the project in time so you just do other (more fun) stuff.

Solution: Make a Plan and Vow to Stick to It

The first thing you have to do is make an elaborate plan and swear on your laptop’s battery you’ll stick to it no matter what! Make a big poster and paste it to your wall so you can see it at any point. It will remind you of what you need to do and make you feel guilty for not doing it. It’s okay to be a little mean to yourself if you know the outcome will make your life so much better!



2. Stage two: Laziness Overpowering

So, you are super-smart and adroit, you know you can do it and you know how, you are the best person for the job, but nah, not today, today is binge-watching The Arrow and The Flash day. No, today you just want to kick back, relax, rekindle the romance between your laptop and little old you, lay in bed and drink tea, maybe order some pizza, you know, a casual Monday of a college student.

Solution: Just move!

Get out of bed, go for a walk, maybe do some yoga or go running. That is probably the last thing you want to do but at the same time the best. Moving makes the oxygen reach your brain cells faster and makes you feel energized and motivated, so get off that couch and take your dog for a walk (and maybe throw a frisbee in your bag – more fun for you and the dog).



3. Stage three: Making excuses

“I’m really busy right now with this old Sega Mega Drive I found in the attic that I’m trying to connect to this 21st century TV. No, I know I have that project to do but it can wait! It’s the Sega! My childhood calls!”

Solution: Get a reality check

You’re not busy, what you’re doing now is not more important than your exam/project. Leave the Sega/Game of Thrones marathon/cleaning your room for another day. Right now you need to focus and be decisive. Watching YouTube videos on how not to procrastinate is still procrastination!



4. Stage four: Denial

This is the critical stage of the ProcrastiCycle. This is where you convince yourself you still have time, no, you don’t need sleep, coffee is a proper replacement for a meal, the paper you write in just 10 hours will be just as good as if you took a few days to write it, the Muses will come down from Mt. Olympus and inspire you to write the best thesis of your life.

Solution: Cold Shower

Admittance is the first step to recovery. Face your problems and find a way to solve them. Make a checklist of everything you need to do and start crossing out the things you did one by one. Having visual aid in the form of a to-do list is helpful because it makes you see your tasks and makes them real. Once they’re out of your head you can’t deny their existence.



5. Stage five: Panic!

“Oh no, oh no, oh no! No more time! I’m in big trouble! God if you help me I’ll never procrastinate again! Oh Zeus have mercy on me! I’ll have to drop out of college! My whole life is ruined! Help! Help! Help!” The panic stage is pretty self-explanatory. Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, your heart is racing, you start planning your escape to sunny Mexico where you won’t have to deal with any of this, basically, the end is nigh and you see it!

Solution: Calm Down

It’s a total cliche, but calm down. Drop everything and give yourself five minutes to regain composure. Have a cup of tea, meditate, open the window to get some fresh air. Do not think about your assignment. Try to come up with a reward you will give yourself when the task is over – a day off with friends, camping trip or a big chocolate cake – anything that will make you motivated to buck up and start working!


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