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Last week we provided you with part one of our article on procrastination – The art of putting your AAT studies off. We explained that there are three steps to overcoming procrastination:
1. To recognise that you’re doing it
2. To identify the reasons why you’re doing it
3. To identify the steps you need to take to overcome it
In part one, we looked at step one and set you a challenge to notice the things that you do when you’re procrastinating. This week we are going to look at step two and three.
Identify the reasons why you’re doing it
So right now I’m procrastinating over creating a new study buddy for students. If I dig deep and be honest with myself I will have to admit:
• I lose sight of the end goal, why I am doing it, and what it’s going to feel like when I’ve accomplished my goal
• I place more value on things that give me immediate satisfaction rather than satisfaction in the future
• I always feel overwhelmed at the start of the project, I just don’t know where to start
• I am very disorganised and sometimes I struggle to prioritise my work
• I feel obliged to do duties myself rather than ask for help when I need it
• I hold unhelpful beliefs that create blocks such as “I just don’t get formulas”
Identify the steps you need to take to overcome procrastination
Procrastination is a deeply embedded habit. A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. In order to overcome procrastination you need to consciously create new habits. As we are all unique, what works for you will be different to what works for me. However, psychologists suggest paying attention to the following, as they’re techniques which are proven to work:
Forgive yourself – Beating yourself up for putting things off wastes time and energy. Forgive yourself and move on!
Remind yourself about why you’re doing it – Why did you buy the course? What is it you want? How will it feel when you get it? What will it feel like if you don’t get it?
Rid yourself of distractions – Notice what works for you and notice what’s distracting you. Be bold and make the changes you need to get it right. If you need support from others to make the changes you need, ask for it.
Start somewhere, start small – Focus on starting rather than finishing. You don’t have to do it all, but you have to do something, however small. Try to avoid all or nothing thinking. They say that 80% of success is showing up!
Commit and create new habits – Commit to doing one productive thing a day related to your studies. Use planning tools (e.g. simple to do lists) to set yourself short term goals e.g. what you’d like to achieve by the end of the day or the end of the week.
Hold yourself accountable – Provide yourself with consequences for inaction, and most importantly rewards for action, no matter how small. Sometimes peer pressure works. Ask someone close to you to check up on you, or join a group such as our Facebook study group.
Manage self-talk – Become aware of your mental dialogue. If you notice yourself providing reasons for not doing what you planned, ask yourself “Is that really true?” Allow yourself to be flexible with your thoughts. Challenge yourself to think productively so you are empowered to produce welcomed behaviour which makes you feel good.
Make it fun! Experiment with different ways of learning, you’d be surprised at what you could discover! Plan small, frequent rewards along the way. Build in relaxation and leisure time too.
It might sound obvious, but as procrastinators, if what we are doing now isn’t working, we clearly need to do something different.
The good news is that you can overcome procrastination! Science suggests it takes around 28 days to establish a new habit so let’s get started today!