Dhaka, Bangladesh
Don't put it off

Don't put it off

As far back as I can remember, I've been a procrastinator, and for the longest time, I was in denial about this. When creating time tables during study holidays, I used to set hilariously ambitious goals (finish an entire chapter on organic chemistry in an hour? Ha!), and almost always failed to achieve them. The problem worsened as technology progressed. I was no longer distracted by SMSes on my Nokia 3310, but by WhatsApp groups, social media sites, and the deadliest of them all - the five-minute YouTube video (one hour and several videos later, you're always left asking yourself, "Where did my time go?!"). Procrastination can create a lot of negativity in life. It causes stress because you are always thinking about "that thing you need to do now, but will do later". Sometime, it leads to sleepless nights because "that thing" invades your dreams. It prevents you from enjoying the present to the fullest because, one part of your mind is concentrating on something else. It could possibly also impact the quality of your work, if not budgeted enough time to complete. After repeatedly failing to overcome procrastination and enhance my productivity, I arrived at an epiphany - learn to work with it. The first step was to observe what the patterns were - when was I most likely to procrastinate? What were the situational variables that could play a role? What were the different ways in which I wasted time in fruitless pursuits? After this, I made some major changes to the way I approached work: Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses: Be realistic about how long it takes for you to complete something. If you have never before finished a chapter of organic chemistry in an hour, it is unlikely that you can do it now. Be brutally honest with yourself when setting time-bound goals. Schedule procrastination time: I have "starting trouble", and my tendency to procrastinate is the greatest before I start work. I learnt through studying my habits that I worked best in the early morning. So, I woke up at least 45 minutes before my scheduled "start" time, to buffer for procrastination time. Give yourself reasonable breaks: Working continuously for several hours and then taking a break can sometimes be ineffective for many people. Instead, try to take more frequent but shorter breaks, and avoid activities that you know could suck you in. Minimise distractions: I uninstalled several apps from my phone to make it more difficult for distractions to reach me (opening a browser and typing the website address takes extra effort, thus allowing me to moderate social media use). Turning off notifications is also helpful. Set clear expectations: This is especially important when you have some control over project/assignment timelines. Instead of running the risk of over-promising and under-delivering, set expectations with the recipient on how and when you can deliver the work.

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