Here I list a few useful methods which worked me of fighting with procrastination. If you are a student/freelancer/…, these might help too.
1. Record My Time Usage
Main idea is to know where I spent my time.
I have at least 16 hours to budget each day, but how come sometimes I only work/study for 2 or 3 hours? Even if I spend too much time on social media or video websites, it is still too little.
Therefore, I created a Google Sheet to record my time everyday – a time log!
- It is only for recording, not for planing.
- Add one record every time when I move to another phase. For example, after I finish my breakfast, I add the current time and categorize it into ‘EAT/COOK’
- See how it changes in every 7 days.
Here is my first 7 days time log
See how my ‘WORK/STUDT’ catogory got stronger and stronger? I just wanted to find out where did my time go. But surprisingly, while I was recording it, I also got more motivated to do meaningful things, instead of wasting my time on social media or Youtube!
Note: Feel free to make a copy. If it helps or you have suggestions, comment there!
2. Quantify My Goal
This one is easy to understand by the title. But not every goal can be quantified.
So far I have tried to quantify my work and my reading, as they are easiest ones.
- set my goal. e.g. work 75 hours per month or read one book every 3 days.
- get a paper or open a digital file.
- divide the paper into 2 area, left and right.
- in the left area, write numbers from 1 to 75 or from 10% to 100%.
- in the right area, write numbers from 1 to 31 or from 1 to 3.
- at the end of the day, mark left numbers with a green pen and right numbers with a red pen.
- Then I could see if I’m doing well as I planed.
I prefer to use paper, because I could put it on my desk or on the wall. If the green part is growing slower, I’ll catch up. If the red part is slower, I’ll have a break or be more motivated to continue! It feels really good to fill those blocks with green!
Note: the main point of this method is to focus on the process, instead of the result. Procrastination comes from negative moods, like fears. If you alwasy delay difficult tasks, such as thesis, you could try to forget about “I’m going to finish a thesis on XXXX in 5 months”, but think about “I’m going to spend XXX hours on my thesis in the next 5 months”.
Well, I know maybe you never workout and you are afraid of going to gym. I was there too. But why not give it a try? You might start to enjoy it, as me.
Do some study beforehand. You could also download some workout planning app for tutorials. Then just do it!