I’m currently sitting on the lofted bed in my dorm room, PJs on, hair all over the place, one eye basically still closed with sleep. Technically, this blog post was supposed to go live at 6 AM. And yet here I am at 7:50, having just woken up and not even started writing yet—that, my friends, is called procrastination. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it; maybe some of you are quite cozy with it. I think you can tell where I stand. In fact, my dad has started calling it pro-grace-tination when it refers to me. Fitting.
I didn’t used to be a procrastinator, but now it plagues me like a disease. Almost everything I do is last minute and it’s like I actually thrive on the thrill of not knowing if I’ll get everything done…As you might imagine, this stress is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I really want to change this nasty habit in 2019 because I just have too many goals and dreams to keep waiting instead of start doing. Who’s with me?
Most often, my Thursday lifestyle posts entail solving some sort of issue I’m currently having in my own life (like dealing with “breaking up” with friends or facing homesickness). Then as I write my post and brainstorm ways to solve it, I get the chance to work through my feelings and realize the actions that need to be taken to rectify the issue. It’s kind of like my own personal therapy! By writing this post, I’ve finally cracked down on identifying the reasons I tend to wait until the last minute, so now I know exactly how to turn my pro-grace-tination into productivity. Practicing the tips below has made a huge difference in what I can get done in a day, and I’m now proud to say I’m a recovering procrastinator (of course, I still have slip-ups, like today’s belated blog post). Keep reading to discover how you TOO can enter recovery!
Make Organization Fun.
The first step to ending procrastination is getting organized—but you have to do it in a way that gets you excited. Sitting down and thinking about all the stuff you have to complete by the end of the day sounds miserable, but mapping it out with fancy gel pens and color coordinating and star-shaped sticky notes? Now that sounds a little more enjoyable.
There are so many different ways to organize your schedule and to-do list—monthly planners, weekly layouts, whiteboard calendars, sticky notes, a combination of all the above…Whatever you choose, just stick with it. I’ve tried almost every organizational pattern under the sun and realized planners work best for me. I purchased the Passion Planner back in August and highly recommend it for all you dreamers out there (but I could talk about that planner in a whole other post). The point is, I like to have both a monthly and weekly layout, and this new planner offers a timeline for each day. This makes it very easy for me to specifically schedule every activity and item on my to-do list.
I have special colored pens to color coordinate different aspects in my life (athletics are pink, school is purple, social is green, appointments/meetings are red, etc.). That way I can easily get a sense of my week ahead just by glancing at the colors. Plus it’s pretty to look at, which makes organization more enjoyable! So whether you like to doodle your notes, bullet journal, or just write them on good old-fashioned lined paper, find a way to have fun with it and it will become that much easier to stay on top of your tasks. I could talk about organization all day, but I’ll cut myself off there! Let me know if you’re interested in more tips.
Only Keep One To-Do List.
An important thing to remember is to only ever keep one to-do list. Don’t maintain separate lists for different aspects of your life (like one for school and one for blogging)—this makes it so much easier to lose track of or completely forget about tasks you need to complete. By keeping all of your chores in one place instead, you can better see how you’ll need to allot your time, rather than finishing one to-do list only to end up having to cram the other.
Break Big Tasks Into Smaller, Timed Chunks.
This step is crucial, and it is something I especially need to work on. Part of the reason people tend to procrastinate is because a task is so big and daunting that they’re afraid to start. Like that research paper in English class, or that 8 page application for [fill in the blank]…Yah, I know I’ve been there. The trick is to break the chore into smaller, timed chunks to make it more manageable.
Let’s take the research paper for example. Instead of waiting to start the 10 page paper until two days before, break it into 7 chunks. When it’s first assigned, set a timer and spend one hour working distraction-free on only the research. Then the next day, spend a half hour brainstorming and mapping out each paragraph to make the writing easier. Spend the next 5 days trying to write two pages over the course of one hour each day.
Breaking large, intimidating tasks into more manageable chunks has so many benefits:
- You chip away at the project little by little each day, so it feels less time-consuming and stressful to complete.
- By only working on it for timed intervals, you remain engaged and efficient rather than losing focus (which can make a task take way longer than it otherwise would have). Just be sure to stick to the time intervals, even if it means not completing what you had initially planned. You need the breaks to maximize productivity!
- You can feel accomplished with little victories each day. A huge problem I have is adding big tasks to my to-do list and then never completing them in a day, leaving myself feeling unproductive and disappointed. Don’t set yourself up for failure like I do! When you make your to-do list, write down the chunks, not the entire task. That way it appears so much more manageable and you can feel good about the progress you’re making each day.
Wear a Comfortable Outfit.
Of course, I had to discuss how fashion plays a role in ending procrastination…Whenever you have a day when you know you have a lot to do, be sure to wear an ultra-comfortable outfit. My clothes have a huge effect on my mood, so when I’m wearing something uncomfortable or something I can’t lounge around in, I automatically feel less productive and less likely to get work done. Instead of sweats, stick with a cozy striped sweater and your favorite pair of jeans. You can feel good knowing you’re taking the day on in style, and you’ll look presentable anywhere, from your desk at home to the meetings and errands you have to run out in the world.
One of my favorite bloggers Olivia at Absolutely Olivia just published her own post about kicking procrastination in the new year, so be sure to check out her tips as well by clicking here! I love her blog and think y’all will too.
So what do you think? Are you a procrastinator or is that totally not an issue for you? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below! Have a great and productive Thursday.
Miles of smiles,
Striped Sweater: Banana Republic, $50, debut on the blog // Dark Wash Skinny Jeans: A.N.A. via JCPenney, $25 // Fringe Booties: Sam Edelman via DSW, $90 // Plaid Pom Pom Scarf: Loft, $40, debut on the blog // Maroon Beanie: Francesca’s, $30, debut on the blog // Red Purse: Kate Spade New York, gift