How many times have you thought “I wish I’d started studying earlier”? If you’re like most students, it must be quite a lot. “Procrastination is the thief of time” says the old adage. How true it rings in today’s world filled with distractions (Facebook, Youtube cat videos). Procrastination is also one of the most commonly cited problems by students. It is a major problem that separates those that succeed from those who don’t. Knowing how to crush procrastination is an essential weapon in any student’s arsenal. StudentView presents the latest methods to stop procrastinating and get started on the things that you should be doing.
Step 1: Chunking
Imagine you were given the task of baking one thousand red-velvet cupcakes today.
How would you feel? Probably overwhelmed and slightly discouraged. Now, imagine you were given the task of finding the recipe to bake red-velvet cupcakes. Much better, isn’t it? You’re more likely to procrastinate the former task than the latter. Once you complete the first step of obtaining a recipe, you’re more likely to go on to the next steps such as acquiring the ingredients and starting to bake. Often procrastination is the result of our goals appearing too large, unstructured and seemingly insurmountable. Therefore, the first step to combat procrastination is to break up your goals into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Need to study for a mathematics exam? Start the ‘chunking’ process: Write down a list of the sections that you need to study. Arrange these sections by priority. Gather your resources for each section. Set a goal of 30 minutes of study for the first section.
Don’t look any further than that. The key is to make the task at hand appear doable and more attractive so that you are more likely to start doing it than procrastinate.
You should keep chunking down the task until the sub-tasks become so simple and easy to do that you cannot possibly procrastinate anymore.
Step 2: The 2-minute rule
If you want to reach your goals and stop procrastinating, your focus should simply be on one thing; that is: STARTING. Why is starting important? Sir Isaac Newton said that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. This is never more true as when applied to procrastination. If you are procrastinating, you will continue to do so. Unless you start. Follow the ’2-minute rule’ (coined by James Clear) :
When you start a new task, it should take less than two minutes to do.
Can all your life goals be completed in less than two minutes? Off course not. But, any task and every goal can be started in less than 2 minutes. If you cannot start it in less than 2 minutes then you need to chunk it down more. By only committing 2 minutes, you’re more likely to start. For example, let’s say you want to get into the habit of flossing everyday. Don’t commit to flossing all your teeth. Instead, simply commit to flossing one tooth. Yes, it sounds strange but try it. Research shows that instead of stopping after one tooth, you will continue to floss the rest. By only committing to floss one tooth, you have forced yourself to start. And that’s the power behind this little rule. It works because it breaks the inertia of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.
Want to complete a 2000 word essay? Just write one sentence (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll often find yourself writing for an hour.
Want to read one chapter from your History book? Commit to reading the first page, and you’ll soon find you are half way to the end!
Do you have 120 seconds to spare? Then you have no reason to be procrastinating. Try it out right now.