• Matrix Tutors Team

Procrastination

Updated: Apr 1




Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing something.



Why do we procrastinate?


There are many theories to why people procrastinate. Based on everyday life, these are common examples to why we delay our tasks:

  • Something else seems more enticing than the work at hand

  • The task at hand seems intimidating, boring, or frustrating

  • There isn't enough time to make meaningful progress on your task

  • You're too tired to spend your energy on it

  • You didn't plan for it

Based on the source of your procrastination we can attack the problem with one or more strategies. Remember that consistency and discipline will lead to forming habits.




Something else seems more enticing than the work at hand

There are two options when you feel you are stuck as this procrastinator:

  1. Make other things seem less appealing

  2. Make the task at hand seem more appealing


Distractions:

Phones can be very distracting. In those micro moments where you feel like the task at hand is challenging, it is so easy to pick up your phone to release some tension. This will positively diminish your work productivity.

In order to make phones less appealing, or less of an automatic movement: leave your phone in another room, place it in an area you can't see or can't easily reach, or turn your phone completely off. This way, if you actually do pick your phone, then it is not something automatic, but now it is intentional and you're purposely disrupting your progress.


Television is another big one. If you're working with your TV on, that will undoubtedly become a distraction. Just like phones, we look at the TV in order to release the tension from challenging sections of our tasks. It is so easy to lose focus on your task and turn to the comfort and "easyness" of the TV.

If your work area includes a TV, make sure the TV is off, or relocate yourself to a space where there is no TV present


Solutions:

To make work tasks more enjoyable, listening to music, finding a study buddy, or giving yourself a small reward for completing the task.

Having a study buddy will add a level of accountability to the task at hand since you will have the success of another person to think of, and not just yours.



The task is the problem

There are to main ways to make the task more attainable and less daunting:

  1. Deconstruct the task into smaller portions.

Let's say you want to run a marathon. If your end goal is to run 26 miles, don't start by running the full thing, instead focus on one mile at a time, one after the other.


In another example, rather than telling yourself you need to study 2 chapters of American History, instead focus on completing a single section within one chapter. It will make the task smaller and less daunting, which will essentially make the task easier to start (which is the hardest part). It's much easier to keep going one task at a time


2. Work blocks.


Instead of making your goal get though 25 physics practice blocks, reframe your goal into completing one 25 minute work block. It not only makes it seem like the work is more manageable, but it also gives you a time frame rather than an undefined period of time you'd have to be working for. Once you finish your first work block, feel free to take a couple minutes to yourself and then begin another one.



Not enough time?

Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it, meaning the more time you set aside to complete a task, the more time that task will actually take.


"Today was so busy, but I managed to get everything I needed done!"


The reason is that when you're short on time, you force yourself to complete the task in less time than you initially anticipated. The key is to find the right balance. If you're doing too many tasks repetitively, you will become overwhelmed and "burn out". However, if you're too relaxed you leave efficient productivity aside.

Don't forget that not all tasks need to be completed in a single seating. Partial completion, as long as you complete by when it's due, is always okay!




Feel free to watch the entire video by Med School Insiders by clicking HERE




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