How to Limit Your Procrastination

We all procrastinate, but some of us are better at limiting how long we do it.

The single best strategy I've ever heard for limiting procrastination is:

Keep a journal of your daily goals

  • Each day, write out what you want to get done, and what time during the day you will do it.

  • At the end of the day, check off what you accomplished, and if you didn’t finish something, write a short note explaining why.
  • This helps identify problems in how you schedule your days (like overestimating what you can get done), so that you can adapt.
  • It also helps to reveal when you are trying any lame excuse in order to avoid doing something, and after a few days you'll be so embarrassed at facing it, that you'll just do it already.

  • You can also try these strategies:

    1. Decide to do just 5 minutes
    • The first 5 minutes are always the hardest, so just get it over with.

    2. Don’t study at home
    • The excuses to delay working will be all over you like a fat kid on a box of Smarties. Run far, far away..

    3. Rather than quit for the day, take a power nap to re-energize
    • Lay your head down on your study carrel, and in 20 minutes you'll be good as new. (Aside from some drooling and a kink in your neck, that is.)

    The journal idea is taken from How to Become a Straight A Student by Cal Newport. You should read this book. Really. (Really, invest an afternoon to read this book, and the rest of your academic career will be different.) I'm serious.