I’m sitting here at my laptop staring at a page full of blog ideas that I came up with. They are congruent with the vision I have for my blog. A source for fashion, college, and travel; but, I can’t seem to get excited about writing any of them. It’s a big problem of mine, I have all this momentum in the beginning; however, when it comes to keeping to a schedule, I struggle. I look for anything else to keep me occupied other than finishing projects that I’ve started. For example, today, instead of working on my blog and on scholarship essay deadlines that are coming up, I caught up on the last five episodes of Scandal. This show, while an amazing show, (go Shonda!), did nothing to help me achieve my goals to launch a blog and a YouTube channel, both before I leave for study abroad on the 29th of August; which for some reason seems to be getting closer by the minute.
So instead of forcing myself to start (and probably stall out) a post I don’t have the motivation for, I decided to write about my lack of motivation and infatuation with procrastination. Here are some ways that I try to coerce myself to be somewhat productive. An important reminder, these don’t always work and sometimes, like today, I end up marathoning a series of shows or simply taking a nap, but overall these tips have helped me out a lot.
- Do something else.
It’s what I’m doing right now in a way. Yes, I’m still writing for my blog, but I’m not doing a planned post and I’m sort of just writing what comes to mind. Another option is keeping a small list of simple tasks you need to get done that day and keep them by your side as an easy distraction and breather before going back to work. Things like cleaning your room, putting laundry in the dryer, and emptying the dishwasher can help you refresh, letting you go back to work or study with a clear mind. It’s not just household chores that can act as intermissions either. There were plenty of times where I was stuck at the library trying to finish a project and just desperately needed a break. In these cases, I would recommend going for a quick walk, having a fun chat with a friend or coworker. Even just closing your eyes for a few minutes and listening to your favorite music can make a world of difference when you get back to work.
- Write it out. Force yourself to start something, anything!
There are times when I’ve procrastinated to the point of practically no return when I must finish this project or else there will be dire consequences (whether academically or personally) that I have to sit down and actually put something together. This is when I just start typing to brainstorm. As long as I’m writing something, I count it as progress. For most of these brainstorming sessions, I will usually start with a few sentences as follows.
“…I don’t know what to write. What do I even know about this topic? Oh I think I know this, but that doesn’t help at all. What am I going to do! Should I go on YouTube? No! Focus! Hmmmm…. “
That cycle usually continues for a few paragraphs until I start writing with actually substance. I find it’s a good way to start when I can’t see an ending point. I love to plan everything out, but sometimes that causes problems since it results in procrastination for the point of perfection. This way it’s ok if the first paragraph or couple pages aren’t perfect, I still feel as if I’m accomplishing something, which is what matters when you’re just starting a post or article.
- Work procrastination into the plan.
I’ve accepted long ago that procrastination and I are lifelong buddies. As so I have decided to keep it close instead of trying to unfriend it. Splitting your work into parts either by accomplishment or time and having small breaks where you allow yourself to procrastinate can help you be more focused. Personally, I work best when I split my work into tasks and then let myself watch a video, go on social media, or check my texts once I’ve finished a task. I think basing it around timing can be a good option for many people; however, I get fixated on the countdown and end up checking the clock more than doing any actual work. This way, I have something to look forward to when I finish even a small portion of my tasks.
- Make goals (even small ones).
I work best with a check list. I make them for everything; being able to cross something off on a physical piece of paper gives me great satisfaction. Giving myself goals to strive for, whether for that day, week, or month allows me to see a little in the future and plan in advance for what I need to do to achieve them. Rewarding yourself also helps! One of my favorite ways to reward myself is sushi!!!
- Change locations.
There are times where I can’t stand to sit in the same place for another hour looking at the same surroundings. This happened a lot when I was locked in my dorm room studying. I had set up a lovely monitor so I had two screens including my laptop, but at times I couldn’t bare another second cooped up there. Changing the setting can put a reset on your mind and allow you to focus more once you get settled again. There is a cute coffee shop about a ten-minute walk off my campus where I would often escape to, as did many of my fellow classmates. It was a change from the usual study spots of the library, cafeteria or student lounge. If I was being really ambitious, I would lug all my stuff down to our administration building across campus which has a lovely view and a calming interior.
However, I didn’t always have the time or resources to go for coffee every time I needed to get out, or to drag my stuff across campus for a pretty view. Especially when I was home for the summer, if I wanted to be somewhere other than my house I had to drive. When this was not an option, I would change my location in my room. Work on my bed, on my floor, or even on my balcony in my dorm, if it wasn’t too hot outside. Even if I wasn’t going far (a few feet at most) it let something change which is really all I needed
I hope these tips helped you! I know that many of my examples were of school and writing related topics, but you can apply them to any situation. I use them when I’m researching, cleaning around the house, or even watching shows. Gotta balance the drama of Scandal with the hilariousness of Modern Family right? The world is there, go out and make it yours!