We all know someone who has a habit of leaving things until the last minute. I’ve been guilty of it myself. Whether it was doing assignments at the last minute or tidying up in the seconds just before visitors arrived I have left things I know I needed to do until I have almost run out of time.
So why do we do it?
Solving Procrastination highlights a number of reasons of why people procrastinate. Whether it is perfectionism, rewards that are a long way away or you are feeling overwhelmed we need to identify to triggers for our procrastinating tendencies. Only then, can we start to take action to make sure we are not doing that assignment at the last minute.
My reasons for procrastination tended to be because I was a perfectionist. By leaving it until the last minute I could justify an average result saying I didn’t do my best work. If I had worked throughout the semester though and got an average result it would feel like a failure. So I did the only thing I could do. I broke it down into smaller tasks and somehow tricked myself into thinking I wasn’t completing a big project or assignment.
That’s what I still do today.
How do we stop leaving things until the last minute?
In fact one of the ways to avoid leaving things until the last minute according to Year13 is to break it down into smaller pieces. One of other great tips they suggest is to give rewards if you finish early. Like when you finish an exam early and get to rest your head on the desk but much more rewarding. By rewarding yourself early you bring forward those rewards you would receive at the end of semester. You also link an external motivation (the reward) with the internal one (studying for a good grade) making it more likely that you will complete that assignment or do that study for your exam.
So stop leaving things until the last minute and get started today.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started.Mark Twain