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How to Not Procrastinate

“Delaying something that is ought to be done” is how Marina McCoy, a psychology professor at Boston College, defines procrastination. She says the main reason someone procrastinates is that they are overwhelmed with either how big a project is or the many things they have to do in their life. The simple solution to procrastination would be to subside the complex emotion: worry. While that is easier said than done, many techniques can be used to get over procrastination. 

First, you have to commit to your task and forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past, as it can cloud your prefrontal cortex, which is a part of the brain that makes decisions and controls stress into putting this task off. Many people usually procrastinate believing that they cannot do an assignment perfectly. In return, they either do not do it or put it off till the last second. For example, if you have an important project in a language you are not fluent in, do not expect perfection. Break up the project into different categories and spread out your work over a couple of days. Once you have completed each step, eat a snack. Having the mindset of making an assignment low stakes and rewarding yourself at the end of it allows you to increase your self-confidence, lowering the probability that you will procrastinate. 

Educators can also help subdue procrastination by creating an environment that minimizes it. A technique that some teachers use is “scaffolding” assignments, which allows students to develop the skills to take on harder tasks associated with basic “capstone” assignments. 

Employers can also provide a better work-life balance, which will increase the quality of work from their employees. They can also suggest taking breaks from work to recharge, remind people to eat nutritious meals and encourage people to receive an adequate amount of sleep. Overall, this will give students and employees a more balanced and healthy life, so they can put forth themselves in the best light possible. 

The hardest part of breaking the cycle of procrastination is acknowledging the problem. Then, you have to shift your focus to the assignment by picking the most urgent steps. As you complete these parts, take breaks in between and reward yourself. Repeat these steps until you have finished the assignment.

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