How to Stop Procrastinating

Posted by Chris Zhang

August 16, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Procrastination Guide Time Management

1. Work in Time Blocks

Few are able to do work for extensive periods of time. That’s why on the SAT or ACT, the testmakers give you breaks in the middle to help clear your mind so you can focus on the upcoming task. Working in time blocks adopts a similar mentality. Set a timer for an amount of time that allows you to accomplish tasks while still being bearable. When doing homework or studying, I like to take a small 5-10 minute break where I’ll go on social media or talk with friends every hour to an hour and a half as a refresher and to help focus on the next time block.

2. Listen to Music

Putting on headphones can help you focus and drown out the surrounding noises and distractions. You don’t necessarily have to listen to anything - just the act of having headphones on can put you in your own world and sends a message to people who see you to not disturb you. I like to listen to music while studying because the song oftentimes helps me retain information since I associate the information with the song I’m listening to. Check out our suggestions on some music to listen to while studying. Note that not all music is helpful when studying and can oftentimes result in less efficient studying.

3. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

One of the most common excuses of procrastination is that you’re too tired. You stay in bed all day instead of doing anything productive. This is in large part because you didn’t get enough sleep and aren’t energized to get anything done. Make sure you’re getting the amount of sleep you need and that you’re sleeping environment is conducive to a good night’s sleep - lights are off, a quiet environment, electronics off, etc.

4. Take a 20 Minute Nap

This can oftentimes be an excuse to procrastinate but taking a short nap can help improve your mood and increase your productivity. At Google, they have napping pods in their offices to help their employees feel energized - a testament to how effective napping can be to one’s productivity. Obviously, you can’t go overboard with napping, but a short 20 minute nap is the perfect balance between feeling energized and not feeling too groggy.

5. Exercise and Do Other Commitments Earlier in the Day

Exercising or errands can oftentimes be a nice refresher from doing work, but generally, people use these as excuses for procrastination. “I can’t study now because I have to go workout.” Once you’ve done your workout, you’re going to need to shower, and even then, you might feel too tired to study. Exercising early in the day gets your blood pumping and introduces endorphins, or happy hormones. This will help you feel more motivated later on the day when you’re studying or doing any other task.

6. Figure Out Why You’re Procrastinating

Everyone procrastinates for a different reason but figuring out why you do and overcoming it is extremely helpful. For me, a common reason is that I’ll notice that the due date isn’t for a while, or I have plenty of time to accomplish a task so I’ll leave things to the last minute. But if you think about it, spending a couple of hours on a project the week before it’s due isn’t a big deal, but those couple of hours saved on the project can be the difference between an all-nighter or a good night’s sleep the night before the project is due.

Next Steps

Everyone procrastinates to some capacity but limiting how much you procrastinate is the difference between getting your work done or not. Limiting procrastination only requires small lifestyle changes, but these small lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Are you in high school and procrastinating on test prep for the SAT/ACT? Check out Prepmedians. We teach SAT/ACT test prep through sketch comedy and music so you’ll look forward to prepping for the SAT or ACT instead of dreading it. We also divide our lessons into 15-20 minute blocks so it’s easier to schedule test prep time.

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Posted by Chris Zhang

Chris scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Data Science at Colby College. Fun fact: The only movie he ever cried in was Fast and Furious 7.