Procrastination: do’s and don’ts

Procrastination is something most of us deal with in our life, and it can have major influences on someone’s life. So here are some tips on how to stop doing it.


Tip number one: Identify the problem.


People procrastinate for different reasons, for example perfectionists may procrastinate because the strain they put on themselves is too large so they try to avoid the problem. Another reason could be having poor self-control. This makes it so that different people will have to have different techniques to avoid procrastinating.


Tip number two: Create a plan+splitting up the task.


If a task looks a bit daunting it can help to split it up into pieces. You talk about “How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.” This can help especially if you have poor self-esteem and feel like you can’t do it, because it is easier to see what you can get done quickly so you can get moving with the task. For example, I like doing research but I have a lot harder time writing. So I always start off my study sessions by trying to find more studies on the topic. And this is why I included planning. After I have done some more research for about 10 minutes I have to begin writing. This increases my self-confidence as I understand the topic a bit better, and as I have stated it is easier to start writing.


Tip number three: Limit distractions.


This is easy: limit distractions and it will be harder to get of topic. For example, make a family member or roommate change the WiFi password and only change back after you have completed the task.


Bonus tip: Be a realist


You will not stop procrastinating, so let’s instead learn how to procrastinate efficiently. We want you to spend minimal time for a genuinely good grade so the first thing you want to do is to actually pay attention in class. Absolutely mind-boggling, I know, but it works. If you have some background knowledge of the topic you’re working with it will make things that much simpler.


Next thing you’d want to do is figure out how you learn stuff. Because we want to streamline everything we need to work with your strengths. Personally, I’m a self-proclaimed professional procrastinator and I have absolutely no idea what way works best for me, so finding yours isn’t a necessity. The different ways are as follows: learn by seeing, learn by hearing, and learn by doing. There are infinite variations and mixes so perhaps try something different once in awhile? Oh, who am I kidding? If you were able to drastically change your work ethic you wouldn’t be here reading this.


After you’ve read about these possible improvements you can consider wasting time on useful stuff. This is when the procrastination level goes off the charts. You might not want to write that Swedish presentation just now, but instead of rewatching your favorite series for the third time you could take a Wiki walk, and end up learning how time travel is a theoretical possibility. Although the best thing you could do is probably to read a book.


Reading frequently makes you able to learn basically anything quicker. Plus, it also holds that ever present stress at bay and allows you to procrastinate finishing that article about procrastination with a smile on your face.


Cowritten by Axel Dahlqvist and Martin Gruvesäter respectively.


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