As Featured on News Cult: How to Not Procrastinate

Umm…. I don’t know how to not procrastinate since I do it all the time. It’s weird—if I don’t feel pressure to meet a deadline, I don’t feel satisfied once I’ve done it. So procrastination is kind of the only way for me to feel a sense of accomplishment. And being able to use the time you spend putting something off on stuff you enjoy doing is nice too. Like, sure, I could work on my taxes piecemeal throughout the year, but I’d rather spend my time doing other things, so why not devote just a couple nights right before April 15 to devolving into psychosis, instead of the entire year?

But I guess I can see the point—if you don’t procrastinate, you might not actually devolve into psychosis. Yeah, you’ll have to dedicate smaller increments of your free time upfront to something, but in the end, you’ll save time and your sanity. So maybe it’s worth a shot. Here are some ideas for how to not procrastinate.

push the deadline up

Give yourself a tighter deadline than is actually necessary, so you’ll still feel the pressure that it takes to motivate you to get something done, but you’ll get it done early. This is essentially still procrastinating, but in, like, a meta way… Forced procrastination to avoid real procrastination. #reversepsychologizingourselvestothefinishline

Take yourself to the dark place

The place of utter despair and panic you go to when you’re scrambling to get something done. Force yourself to sit in that mental space for 20 minutes, which should be enough to scare you out of ever going there again. It’s easy to forget how terrible the procrastination-induced rush to get something done is when you’ve had time and space away to block it from your memory, but when you’re deep in the throes of it, it’s bad. Like, Amanda Bynes, bad. So if you can remind yourself of that, you’ll save yourself a lot of agony and bad body piercing decisions.

reward yourself

For not procrastinating. Because, like dogs, we will do something with enthusiasm and vigor if we get a treat for it. In other words, like Hillary Clinton, we can be bought. Vow to get a massage after you finish your big work presentation one whole day before it’s due (MIND.BLOWING!). Or tell yourself you can’t go get a cup of coffee until you respond to that email in a timely manner (don’t FUCK with our coffee). Or allow yourself one hour of Instagram-trolling for every task you successfully complete ahead of schedule. #whateverittakes

PACK YOUR SCHEDULE

So that it’s virtually impossible for you to procrastinate. If you do, your whole world will fall apart (I mean like what else is new but still). #nothinglikesettingyourselfupforfailure

make a schedule

I hate myself so much for saying this, but maybe (emphasis on MAYBE) it’s worth making a schedule so that you can plan how to feasibly get things done without waiting until the last minute? I’m not saying we all need to start using white boards with color-coordinated sticky note systems and become mini-van driving, pastel- and khaki-wearing, bowl-cut sporting freaks. But just like plot a course for yourself. We’re basically Magellan. Or Christopher Columbus. Minus the raping and pillaging. #notrapingandnotpillagingourselvestothefinishline

be realistic

If you know you’re going to procrastinate on something, don’t take it on in the first place. Yes, some things are unavoidable and require time management (another phrase that makes me want to vom), but you also can choose to pursue things or not (or, if you’re a millionaire, you just choose not to do the required things like taxes anyways. #1%doesn’tgiveaFUCK). And given our propensity for laziness and procrastination, it’s probably best to avoid committing to as many elective things as possible. Some may see this technique as defeatist, but I’m just being real. Like, are we going to actually read the books when we join a book club and be prepared to participate in the discussions? No. We’re just joining for the free food. So cut the book club and find your complimentary refreshments elsewhere, somewhere you’ll fit in with your dysfunction and lack of self-control. Like an AA meeting. #thoseareyourbrethren

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/how-to-not-procrastinate/