How I Learned to Overcome Procrastination (mostly)
Confession: I used to be the worst procrastinator. So bad in fact that I turned in my own college application late. #truestory
In college I still put things off, pulling all-nighters during finals week and for most of my major papers. It wasn’t until after college that I learned how to get things done more consistently.
How did I do it?
One day I read something that really hit me:
The next time you think, “I’ll do it later,” do it now instead. Repeat this 20 times.
I don’t remember where I read it, but I do remember feeling tired of not getting things done.
So I tried it.
And it actually worked.
It took about three weeks to really notice a change in my behavior, but I think that doing 20 things in a row right away helped kick-start the change.
I’m still not perfect.
Even though my default mode has shifted from “I’ll do it later” to “I’ll do it now,” I still sometimes procrastinate. When that happens, I tend to have a conversation with myself that sounds something like:
Motivated self: I can’t believe I haven’t done [whatever it is]. I’m ridiculous.
Procrastinating self: Don’t worry, you’ll get to it.
Motivated self: Maybe, but I feel lazy and like it’s weighing on me. I want to get it done.
Here’s something else that helps:
When I’m still having trouble finishing something, I think of this thing that a wise friend once told me. This wise friend had broken her procrastination habit and was, like me, a perfectionist. She told me this: “Sometimes I have to stop obsessing about getting an A and just get a B+.”
I was like, “Ooh. That’s good.”
So that's my advice to you, especially if you’re a perfectionist:
Stop obsessing about it and get a B+.
Is your perfectionism leading to procrastination? If so, stop obsessing and just do it. #nike
Here’s proof that this is an ongoing process for me:
Want to know the last time I procrastinated? Yup, this article.
Then this morning in the shower I had a little conversation with myself and heard my friend’s words, “Get a B+.”
So that's what I did. I got out of the shower and got it done.
It may not be perfect.
But it's done.
Written by Ethan Sawyer – In addition to being the College Essay Guy, Ethan is a writer, teacher, speaker, and voice actor. He has worked at Elite since 2003 is also the coordinator for the Elite Community Scholars Program, a program very close to his heart. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this blog post are Ethan's and don't necessarily reflect those of Elite Educational Institute.