Education & Career

How to Not Procrastinate.

September 4, 2017

Today’s topic threw me for a loop because I couldn’t think of something I knew how to NOT do really well. So I started thinking about things I wish I knew how to do better…and Viola! I wish I knew better how not to procrastinate…and the funny thing about this one is that I KNOW how to not do it, but I still do more often than I would like. But in the spirit of learning new things and recommitting to being awesome this month here is a reminder for everyone out there, and myself, on how not to procrastinate and some illustrative examples for why you definitely should not procrastinate.

Steps to help you not procrastinate

1. Have a planner

I am a planner junkie. Actually half the reason I used to procrastinate was just looking up planners I wanted or setting up my planner. Having a planner, whether physical or digital, is a great way to write down all that you need done for the month, week and day. I like planners that have both monthly layouts and weekly layouts, with space for my daily tasks.

Recently though, I’ve been using the bullet journal method in a Leuchtturm1917 notebook as my go-to planner. This minimizes my “set-up” time (except at the beginning of the month) and lets me get straight to getting ish DONE! (That said, lots of people go WAAAAY in on their bullet journal set ups, and it looks cool…but it’s not for me right now). If you all want a tutorial of how I do my bullet journal, I can certainly do one (probably in October). Just let me know in the comments below. If there’s enough interest, I’ll make a post about it!

Other awesome planner options(that I’ve used and loved) are things like MoleSkine, BlueSky Planners, Trello, Wunderlist, or you can just make your own physical one!

2. Set reminders

Some one of the perks of having a digital planner like Wanderlist or Google Tasks is that you will get reminders for when the task is due. If you’re like me and prefer pen and paper, just make sure you are checking your planner often or put sticky notes that you will see in your office and in the morning.

3. Break up the project into the smallest possible tasks

Rather than saying “clean house” is due Saturday and you know it’s going to take more than a few hours or even more than that day, break it down it smaller sections. Clean the bathroom one day, your room another day, etc. This goes for any task you have. For example, writing one blog post, I break it down into: Write, Edit, Find links, gather photos, edit photos, draft and publish. Putting just “do blog post,” would be daunting and I might keep putting off doing it. But I can find 15-20 minutes to work on smaller parts of it. Apply this to any and all tasks and you’ll see how quickly you’ll start getting things done.

4. Set daily targets.

This is similar to breaking a project down into smaller tasks. I apply this to things that just need the same small task over and over again. For example, if you’re reading a book for class, don’t just put on your calendar that you need to read it by X date. Instead, break it down into number of pages you will need to read per day to finish the book in time . This way you have broken it down into digestible tasks and you’ll also know when you fall behind…and hopefuly won’t have to speed read the book the day before it’s due. Right now, I have this daily tasks for my email inbox…it’s out of control. I plan to reduce my inbox by 100 emails per day (usually entails deleting things I’m sure are spam, and categorizing others I’ll actually need…but it’s gotta get done).

5. Trick yourself

Like I’ve been mentioning the past two points, smaller tasks are easier to handle than big daunting ones. In addition, telling yourself you’ll work on something for just a few minutes, works better than realizing you now have to sit down for hours at this one task. But usually that first step is the hardest. Once you’re in it, you’re in it.
So what you do is tell yourself you will work on it for just 25 minutes. Typically after that amount of time, you will have gotten into the routine and won’t want to stop. And even if you do stop – you’ve at least done 25 more minutes that you originally would have. If you want a bit more info about the science and mechanics of this, check out the Pomodoro technique.

6. Give yourself rewards

You’re more likely to do something, if you have something you’re looking forward to at the end of the task. For example, after I finish posting this, I’m treating myself to a glass of wine. Jk, I wish. No wine. But I’ll go eat dinner – food is a great motivator. So are things like getting to watch your favorite series or having a small candy bar. Anything that feels like a treat for a job well done on a task you didn’t want to do.

7. With rewards also comes punishments

You can’t just reward yourself for a job well done alone. What’s the consequence for NOT doing something? Maybe you DON”T get to watch your series or you have to stay in from girl’s night out. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you want to do or have. (My punishments are usually just the opposite of my reward, if I do this by this time, I get X, if I don’t do it or don’t do it one time, I don’t get X).

 

Now…Just gotta start following my own advice.

Why you should not procrastinate:

So I got to kill two birds with one stone again today because the #blogtemberchallenge prompt is lessons I’ve learned the hard way from life. And honestly, what haven’t I learned from procrastinating!! (And yet I still do!)
These are all the lessons that I have learned from life and reasons why you should definitely not procrastinate:

  • Do not procrastinate on packing, or anything related to your travel (like withdrawing money) because then you could miss your flight and have to buy a whole new one
  • Do not procrastinate sending that email because then you might delay getting your acceptance letter, which will make you ineligible to apply for a scholarship you are otherwise eligible for and then you have to put off grad school for a whole year.
  • Do not procrastinate on your blog posts because then you have a blog 3 years later, that still looks like you started it 3 months ago.
  • Do not procrastinate on editing and sharing photos from your trips because then you end up with 2 years’ worth of photos from your travels that you then have to sort through, or years’ worth of travel photos that go up in smoke because your external hard drive malfunctioned and you can’t access them anymore

…I could literally go on all day…the point is DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.

 

I’ve been having issues with my phone all weekend (hence all the late posts), so I didn’t get a chance to read up on what everyone else wrote for the challenge yesterday, but check out the two hashtags and let me know which ones are your favorite: #30DayAfriBlogger and #BlogtemberChallenge.

P.S.
What did you all think of this post? This is the kind of organization/motivation posts that I want to bring more of to this blog! And let me know below if you’re interested in my bullet journal process and how I set it up.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Until tomorrow!

 

Always, Omolayo Nkem

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4 Comments

  • Reply Sam September 14, 2017 at 13:59

    I’ve had this post loaded up for some days now and have been procrastinating in reading it–oh the irony! So much gold and practical tips here. I would love to see a tutorial on bullet journaling, please :)!

    • Reply Omolayo Nkem September 14, 2017 at 20:01

      Hey Sam!! Lol, I feel you so much! My pocket is full of articles I was supposed to have read by now – the super irony right? X_x
      So happy your enjoyed the piece!! I try so hard to incorporate these daily…some days are more successful than others (like today…today was awesome in terms of goal crushing…yesterday, not so much!)
      And aww yay!! Would love to share bullet journal tutorial! I love the system!

  • Reply Iam_ellev September 28, 2017 at 21:12

    Great tips! I also can be a procrastinator, but my sister got me into breaking my goals into smaller tasks, which is very helpful. I also reminders on my phone, which is helpful b/c I keep my phone on me all the time lol

    • Reply Omolayo Nkem October 19, 2017 at 10:48

      Exactly! We just have to find the methods that work for us. There was one time, my brother and I were trying to achieve some goals together, and if you missed your target that week, you had to give the other person a dollar. lol. It worked!

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