As a procrastinator, I will readily admit that the average teenager’s work space is hardly a center of productivity. We’re constantly fighting the beckon of the great entity called the Internet, which taunts us with Imgur, 9Gag and Facebook. Our own rooms usually double as offices, and consequently become a mess of dirty clothes and school papers. Though I was fully aware of all of this, I cheerfully accepted the challenge to revamp my personal work process for a single week. Now, a week later, I’m here to share my findings, which you, my fellow procrastinator, just may find helpful.
Keeping it short, here’s my first great realization: there is no way to stop procrastinating right off the bat, whether it’s in a single week or a single month.
While this advice may sound unhelpful, trust me when I say to simply accept this fact. At the start of each semester, every procrastinator starts off hopeful. We tell ourselves that we’ll change our ways, that there will be no more nights of desperate cramming, and that we will sleep more than five hours a night. Yet, by the third week, our hopes and dreams come crashing down as we become less willing to do each homework assignment or write each lab report. By the second month, we’re happy just to start our homework before dinner.
I went into this challenge with my goals set sky high. For me, this challenge was an opportunity to quit my diddly-dawdling ways once and for all. I decided to finish all my homework by 6 p.m. each day. Each night, I would get eight hours of sleep.
However, in just the first day, I quickly realized none of my expectations would be met. On Monday, I was far from done with my homework at 6 p.m. In fact, I didn’t even start until eight. If I was going to have a chance at completing this challenge, I would have to shift gears.
Now, here comes my second great realization: taking baby steps is key. That night, I made a snap decision. Instead of aiming to totally revamp my work process, I decided to simply work on a select few habits of mine. For one week, I would focus on keeping my room neat and my binders organized. This sounded like a ridiculous challenge, but I soon realized just how hard keeping a simple routine can be.
For example, when Tuesday morning came, the urge to leave my blankets untouched as I slunk out of bed was overwhelming. The next morning was another struggle as well. After spending my entire life failing to make my bed when I woke up, switching habits was astonishingly difficult.
How might this relate to your procrastination problems, you may ask? Well, over the week, I realized that something as simple as making your bed every day is a matter of discipline and habit, just like finishing your homework early. In order to eventually achieve a more productive work ethic overall, you have to first start by forcing yourself to build the small, healthy habits.
A week later, I can hardly boast that I’ve suddenly become some super-student, but I can tell you that I have a much cleaner workspace. Maybe in a few months, I’ll be able to consistently finish my homework by nine every night. And if I can do it, who says you, my fellow procrastinator, can’t do it?