I’m nowhere near perfect when it comes to not procrastinating, believe me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not seeking out ways to be better each day. As part of this, I’ve been reading books related to procrastination and productivity, and the most recent addition to this list is Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change by Timothy A. Pychyl, which I listened to as an audiobook. It was a very short read, and I found it to be extremely useful.
In each chapter, Timothy A. Pychyl emphasized a specific lesson, and throughout the book he added to a game-plan of how to defeat procrastination and how to apply the lessons to our lives. Though I highly recommend reading it yourself, I knew as soon as I finished it that I needed to share some of the applications here. My main takeaways, as well as tips to stop procrastinating now, are as follows:
- Just start it, don’t just do it.
The book highlights this a lot and notes the common statements that we all fall victim to: “I’ll do it tomorrow”, “It’s too much work right now”, etc. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We always don’t want to do it and we’re never in “the right mood” to work on that project we hate. We always wish we’d started sooner when we’re stressed because of how rushed we are. Push yourself, and be disciplined. Just start it. That doesn’t mean you have to complete the text this second, but make some progress. Maybe it isn’t as bad as you think, or maybe it’s something you need to take time across days to work on. A lot of bigger projects also might have multiple stages, like in the case of remodeling your kitchen, you may be able to start by ordering the paint for your cabinets, but you will also have a waiting period. Instead of wasting this time, take the waiting time to just start on something else. It doesn’t need to be building Rome in a day, it just needs to be you starting on what you have intended to do, that way you can see real progress.
- Think about your future.
We always see the short term rewards as more than future rewards. Take some time to logically think through it and realize that the reward of getting one more episode in of GOT or Criminal Minds won’t be the end of the world, but fitting in that extra workout or writing that chapter of the book you’re writing helps you to build a foundation for future success. I may really want to be watching Bones right now instead of writing this blog post, but if I want to help to grow my blog and business, which will come with consistent posting, I need to put in the work now. The long-term benefits outweigh the short-term cost.
- If this, then that.
If you’ve ever heard of the app/website IFTT, or if you’ve ever done computer programming, you should know what if-then statements are. If not, let me break it down in the simplest way possible: If x happens, then I will do y. Set up these statements for your life, and start small. Some easy examples of this would be “If my class gets canceled, then I will work on this homework assignment” or “If I finish doing the dishes in less than 30 mins, then I will use the rest of the time to tidy up the kitchen”. Not all of these if-then statements have to be related to school, but they also aren’t huge intentions. These are just small ways to set up some intentions so that you might be able to increase productivity in small ways all across your life. Don’t overwhelm yourself with this, just start small.
Given these tips, as long as you implement them faithfully, you will greatly decrease your procrastination and be on your way to completing your goals by being a more productive you! Once again I highly recommend getting a copy of this book, whether that be a physical copy, eBook, or via audiobook (I loved the audiobook).
Krys Kestrel (@kryskestrel on ig)