When you’re in the field of education and the topic of New Year’s resolutions pops up, chances are the word “procrastination” will be thrown around quite a lot. People of all ages want to stop putting things off; they want to end doing-it-later and start finishing-it-on-time. Whether the “it” in question is an assignment, exam, or personal project, here are 5 effective ways to kick procrastination to the curb!
Name & Reframe Procrastination
Procrastination is often thought of as a character deficit or personal failure. However, when you examine the real reasons people procrastinate, you might be surprised to discover that stalling is usually a hint from your subconscious mind. To get to the root of why you are putting this task off, it is important to explore what that hint is all about. For instance, are you avoiding starting because it feels like you have “plenty of time?” Are you stuck in the middle because you hit a motivational roadblock and paused the project half way through? Maybe you’re close to being finished with your contemporary art project, but your piece is not looking as flawless as you’d imagined it. Whatever the reason may be, try to Name & Reframe your procrastination. “Perfectionism” can be reframed to shooting for “excellence”, and doubting yourself can be reframed to trusting yourself to take small steps in the right direction. Remember: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Define Your Biggest Hurdle
Think about what you’ve been putting off and get really specific. What part of the assignment or task is the most daunting? Is it coming up with a thesis? Is it mastering all three methods of solving quadratics? As you’re pondering this question, feel free to journal or draw out your thoughts. Most of our coaching clients at BES experience a breakthrough when they uncover their Biggest Hurdle. Remember, identifying your challenge is the first step in conquering it.
Pick An Easy Win
People who learn differently need frequent rewards to stimulate brain power and goal-directed persistence. Identifying the easiest step puts you in a place to receive gratification. Take a moment and rate how resistant you are to start a task. If your resistance is high, take a deep breath in and exhale. Now, think of a very simple first step. For instance, if your paper must be in MLA format, you might choose to spend time setting up your Google Doc pages. Once you’ve done the easiest step first, stop and celebrate! You’ve sat down to be productive and are doing a great job. Remember: Take a moment and enjoy this win, no matter how small it may seem.
15 Minutes On, 5 Minutes Off
While it seems like a no brainer, ADHDers tend to have some trouble taking breaks when they’re “on a roll” and being productive. This is because of hyperfocus. Did you know that hyperfocus is one of the greatest superpowers of ADHD? ADHDers enter hyperfocus and can focus more effectively than their neurotypical peers. Yet, taking a moment to pause and have a break is often difficult. This is because ADHDers said to have Ferrari brains with bicycle brakes. Because of this, it rarely feels good to pause since hyperfocus is what makes ADHDers feel calm, cool, and content in the first place. So, why set a timer and take a break? It’s good to train your brain not to burn out. Pausing, even for a few minutes, can help ADHDers become accustomed to shifting in and out of hyperfocus. The more you can train your brain to shift, the easier it will be to return back to the task and banish burnout. Remember: Always think of your work as a marathon, as opposed to a sprint.
Create A Road Map To Follow
Procrastination can be lessened when people have a clear path to follow. A map provides a starting point, ending point, and various routes to arrive at your destination. If you hit a roadblock in the middle and have to detour, having a map there to re-route yourself can be immensely helpful. You can actually start and finish an assignment in a timely manner with a clear destination in sight! Although maps are usually visual, they don’t have to be. If lists are your thing, make lists. If you’re more visual but don’t want to create a roadmap, try mind mapping! Remember: All goals, regardless of how small, have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
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