Eliminating procrastination 101: Guide to motivation

Cora DeWyre ‘21, Circulation, Business/Ad, and Social Media Manager

Procrastination comes in many forms. Everyone does it. But why? It is not necessarily because we are lazy. It is not always because of a lack of time management. Instead, it is about avoiding unwanted, negative emotions. We often put off tasks because we do not want to encounter these poor feelings. Procrastination is caused by negative emotions built up in the brain. If you are sad or overwhelmed, it will be more likely that you will procrastinate. Emotional management can actually help with procrastination and aid in getting things done. First, one needs to realize what emotions they are feeling, then, they can try to eliminate them in order to complete their projects. With this elimination factor in place, it will be easier and more efficient for one to achieve motivation. 

Others might have their emotions in check, but lack a sense of order in which they do their work. People often struggle to know what tasks to complete first. Organization and prioritization can be great ways of building this sense of security, and a planner or journal is a helpful tool for one to utilize to keep track of due dates and deadlines. Also, by making a to-do list of everything you want to accomplish, crucial intentions will be set. Keep your goals and aspirations in mind when you feel like you want to give up. Senior Max Honiss said, “I like to write down my goals and try to do something each day that helps me get there.” He later added, “I also try to stick to an exercise schedule to clear my mind to help me focus throughout the day.” Exercise could be and should be another crucial factor of motivating oneself. When you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and breathe, stretch, meditate, take a walk, or do an activity that makes you feel calm. It is important to fuel our bodies by drinking lots of water, eating healthy, and getting in physical movement periodically during your work day. 

Pacing oneself to prevent information overload is a necessity when it comes to hard work and determination. One way to regulate work time is to include personal time for recovery. Working in small intervals can actually help with getting the job done in a timely manner. Junior Jenna Broaddus said, “This year, my motivation is a result of how my day is going and how much I need to do.” By doing the hardest assignments first on your agenda, you can then break those large projects down into smaller tasks. Broaddus added, “Creating to-do lists where I check off my tasks help me to feel motivated to complete my work.” Accountability is another form of responsible work. If you tell a peer about your tasks, you are more likely to get them done, knowing that someone is holding you accountable for your actions. Incentives such as treats, drinks, or even five minutes of screen-time can be rewarding when you complete a task. 

Visuals such as room decor, pictures, and words around you can all play a role in motivating you. Some visuals can be a distraction, and might end up harming your motivation. Make your workspace satisfying and visually appealing to aid in a higher productivity. If your workspace is loud, dark, or disorganized, it can cause you to not focus on the task at hand. One way to use your surroundings as a motivator, is to write down your goals on a sticky note as a visual around you. These will keep you on track when your eyes veer off into the room looking for a distraction, only to find your bright notes of encouragement and positive intentions. 

In order to successfully complete as many tasks in a timely manner, the fear being overwhelmed, procrastination, and fear of failure must be eliminated. These negative emotions can really take a toll on one’s motivation levels. Do not expect perfection. One can always improve their craft. Also, remember the negative effects of too much phone and screen time, TV bingeing, gaming, etc. These bad habits will hinder your journey to greatness. Once you get in the zone of focus and are on a roll, get things done, and be proud of what you have accomplished when you make personal strides and are successful. And remember, each day is a new day: if you do not accomplish everything you set out to do one day, there is always tomorrow.

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