We have all been there before: laptop glinting a blank word document, sweetened hot beverage an arm’s length away, inspiration brewing ideas in your head, but your eyes take notice of the clutter on your desk. A pen uncapped most certainly needs its top and that disheveled pile of books would look neater in stacks. Might as well color code them, too. The initial task gets sidetracked by not-as-important side quests. Procrastination hinders project doers all over. Sometimes, straying away from the main task feels inevitable though. Instead of providing tips to repress the urge of creativity, here’s a list of productive distractions:
Key word here is banish. Remove extra knick-knacks from the area. Anything from the obvious trash such as rows of empty water bottles (invest in a reusable water bottle) and crumpled up receipts should be cleared out. If you suffer from heavy duty procrastination then removing the following will provide a, hopefully, distraction-free zone: calendars, books, office supplies, bins of paperwork, anything sentimental. Clearing virtually all items from your work space will eliminate the urge to drift caused by external sources. A clear desk space will lessen the likelihood of future procrastinating sessions as opposed to a clean but cluttered space.
Read, Write, Paint, Draw, Craft
Help yourself by rummaging in your pastimes. Depending on how intensive the procrastinated assignment may be, allot for a reasonable amount of time with your passions. Devoting your senses to the acts you freely enjoy will foster creativity. Be reasonable with your time though. Understand first how much you will need for your priority task, then add an extra hour. The remaining time is what you have to work with.
Build Your Connections
Instead of watching three-minute DIY videos on Facebook, reach out to potential references. This is especially important for your future career(s)—academic and/or occupational. Remain in correspondence with your professors and supervisors both former and current as they are considered a reliable pool of references. Get in contact with acquaintances and build a stronger bond. Someone you may know might be able to provide advice about how to achieve your goals. Don’t get to carried away in conversation. You have a priority task to finish first. Begin a conversation but get to your main task.
Because science! Staying in motion increases your ability to concentrate. According to Nilofer Merchant, we remain sedentary for an average of 9.3 hours a day; that’s aside from sleeping. So, get up and do a round about the block.
Though the occasional task-swiping is common, constant occurrences of procrastination may negatively impact your life. If you find yourself struggling to complete priority level tasks, it may be in your best interest to speak with a professional. Take this test to see your procrastination level.