General Question

charliebrown's avatar

How do you stay away from procrastination?

Asked by charliebrown (61points) December 8th, 2009

Procrastination is the worst enemy of studying, working, etc. but it is absolutely impossible to avoid. Have you got any ways to avoid it? What are your motivations before and while working/studying/etc.?

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37 Answers

anon's avatar

Work for an hour and then browse the net (or whatever) for fifteen minutes tends to work for me (usually).

I sometimes find that a few hours go by and I haven’t had my fifteen minutes. It can work the other way though too.

holden's avatar

By not going on fluther.

wundayatta's avatar

By never engaging in a project with a hard deadline.

stratman37's avatar

Give yourself a reward for having done the hard thing. If it’s a big project, break it up into sections, rewarding yourself each step of the way.

How can you have any pudding, if you don’t EAT YOUR MEAT?!

Dr_C's avatar

I try not to think about it until I absolutely have to…

Medlang's avatar

don’t fight it. you can do it later.

Dr_C's avatar

Procrastinators of the world unite!... tomorrow

Chatfe's avatar

I’ll get around to finishing this answer later

Dr_C's avatar

@charliebrown you know what? I’m sorry.. i don’t think you’ve gotten a straight answer yet (at least not many). In my experience it’s not something you can plan for or devise a strategy around.. you either do it or you don’t. It’s a matter of forcing yourself. It’s all will power. (or if you’re anything like me it’s a simple matter of being awesome).

dpworkin's avatar

I wish I knew how. I’m here fucking around, and I should be studying for finals.

sliceswiththings's avatar

I don’t! See you at 5:00 AM when I’m working on finals!

charliebrown's avatar

@Dr_C thank you for the awesomeness enlightenment I now have a different way of viewing my projects.
@anon I have tried it but as you mentioned the other way around..well..that seemed much more affective on my behavior :)

but depending on my observations for the past hour, I agree with most of you about forcing myself and I guess that it’s the only way to work. how depressing.

Gokey's avatar

I leave anything that might distract me at home and and head to the library.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’m a list maker, it works for me. I also print out a blank calendar each month and fill in daily stuff I need to do, got done, hours worked, clothes worn, whatever. I work between two stores, pay bills for two different people and budget for another so I’ve got to find time to not get lost in the shuffle and list making helps me remember.

stratman37's avatar

I love lists. Checking off a completed item gives you “closure” to that task.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Lists with stickers. The shinier the better. Just made mine for finals, I put a big sheet of paper on the wall and wrote all my assignments in different colors by the class. Then I have a bunch of stickers I’ll put next to each one once they’re done.
Course, this isn’t a solution for procrastination. The lists are so long because of all my outstanding work.

Zaku's avatar

Evidently, I don’t, since I’m here answering this question. ;-P

Having said that, I have succeeded at times, and I do have a technique which works, when I do it. Which is, early in the morning, get ready and go sit someplace and list what I’ve said I’d do, then choose what I’ll actually do in what order, and then live my day following that list, which is broken down into simple chunks.

Another thing that works is working with other people, so you can keep each other doing things instead of being alone and getting lost in thoughts and distractions with no one to call you on it and/or otherwise keep you on track.

stratman37's avatar

lists with stickers,ok, I’m writing this down…

anon's avatar

Removed by anon.

avvooooooo's avatar

I try not to think about it, put it off until later…

Oh, wait…

Xilas's avatar

Procrastination is much like masturbation, 10 minutes later you realize you JUST screwed your self.

Remember this and you should be fine…

YARNLADY's avatar

I find using a timer helps. I give myself a set time to “goof off” and then when the timer tells me to stop, I re-set it. No, not to continue procrastinating – but to give myself a set time to do my work. I usually work right through the second setting.

ninjacolin's avatar

One of “the Great Discoveries” by W. Clement Stone, a self made millionaire who passed away early this decade:

“The intentional use of Self Motivators.”

It takes time to make their use a habit. Often, you will forget to use them. But start now. His favorite one was simply the expression: “Do it now!”

USAGE TIP: Tell yourself the self motivator (eg. “do it now!”) and keep telling yourself, blocking everything else out until you comply.

Supacase's avatar

I don’t – we are attached at the hip. sigh

srmorgan's avatar

I am a terrible procrastinator yet I find that I work best against deadlines, whether required by work schedules or self-imposed. By setting a target, I can pace my work habits and even my workload so that I leave myself sufficient time to finish something. My targets are always within attainable goals. I might tell myself on Tuesday that something has to be e-mailed to someone by “start of business Friday morning”. I might finish on Wednesday but more likely, I will be at it on Thursday afternoon, but I will have self-allocated the amount of time it will take to finish.

Usually my judgment of how much time I will need is pretty good, but then I have been at this for a long time.

A short while back, a psychologist friend of mine said that, to me, procrastination “is not the fear of failure, it is the fear of success”.
Food for thought.


filmfann's avatar

Making a list for me is key. I will get into that mode of knocking things off the list, and go crazy.
It’s important that there be some fun things on the list, though, like “watch a movie” or “Piss off Blondesjon”.

Dr_C's avatar

@filmfann as far as pissing of @Blondesjon… are you taking away his beer?

ratboy's avatar

Be patient and wait it out.

sliceswiththings's avatar

@YARNLADY Great suggestion. My roommate last year filled that role. I would tell him that I was going to start working in eight minutes. He would actually watch the clock and hold me to it (like reach over and unplug my internet). Worked great!

truthseeker's avatar

I desperately need a silver bulltet for this mence.
I dread it will destroy me.
Can some ove seriously give me a strategy that works with chronic procrastrinators.

ninjacolin's avatar

@truthseeker step 1: get a pen and piece of paper.

You act on what you’re thinking about most in a given moment. What you are truly aware of is what you tend to be acting on. For example, consider the amount of attention you can put on a pargraph of text. While you’re interested, you’re certainly not climbing a mountain, watching tv, or procrastinating from the task of completing the sentence. You can zoom in even further to observe your level of focus on each individual word and grammatical symbol. Once you’ve moved on from the present word, you’re on to the next and you don’t go back on the words unless you feel you missed something. That is, if it seems important, if you become aware that you missed something. For example, consider the teddy bear I mentioned 2 sentences ago.

ninjacolin's avatar

Step 2: set an alarm for every 5 minutes.

Since you act on whatever you’re aware of, it’s a good idea to find out what your habits of thinking are. Every 5 minutes, jot down 2 or 3 things you’ve focused on and which thoughts were most dominate in coercing your actions. (By the way, without the alarm, you may find your brain has forgotten to remember the 5 minute rule)

The teddy bear is an example of the power of a stray and useless thought. By lying to you about it, I hope that I forced you to spend some small time looking for it, demonstrating the effect of an untamed mind: It wanders aimlessly about on ideas that are ultimately not worth thinking about since, while consumed by these seemingly important tasks, the mind is unable to direct the body towards more worthwhile activities.

So.. write them all down. Find out what your brain is up to. Identify the thoughts that you should not be spending time on. Write down the thoughts that you ought to be spending your time on. Repeat these with a positive attitude, until action forms from them. Ask yourself: “What should I be thinking about.” Then do it.

With practice and a bit of time, you will create new habits of thinking that result in personal progress.

stratman37's avatar

@ninjacolin, Holy Cow, that might actually work. Thank you, I’m not being sarcastic. Where did you learn that?

P.S. I bought some Ginkgo Biloba the other day, but I keep forgetting to take it! ; )

Dr_C's avatar

I was just about to come up with a funny response when i realized I had already posted on this thread…. 3 times. I was too lazy to go over it and lok for my answers :P
How’s that for differed procrastination?

ninjacolin's avatar

@stratman37 i could tell you, but then i’d have to kill you.
i’ve lost a lot of friends this way. :(

charliebrown's avatar

after a good amount of serious research I have found that there is no way to stop procrastination. a procrastinator is always a procrastinator I tell ya!

YARNLADY's avatar

@charliebrown And you just got around to telling us this now?

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