The Trick I Use To Stop Procrastination

Here's the simple trick I use to stop procrastinating when I'm studying
I procrastinate so much you could almost say it’s one of my favourite past-times.

From constantly checking the fridge to see if anything new has magically appeared (it never does) to watching countless Youtube videos, there is nothing I won’t do to procrastinate.

It just seems that studying seems to be a really, really good activity for making me remember all the other things I would rather do and makes me want to do them – straight away.

Procrastination is a huge struggle for me (especially since I have lots of uni assessment this week!) but I have come up with a little trick that helps me stop procrastinating, at least for a little while.

How to stop procrastination

Whenever I sit down to study or do whatever it is that I have to do, I grab two post-it notes (or pieces of paper or whatever I can write on) and stick them next to me on my desk. I also grab a pen and put it with the post-it notes.

I then title one post-it note ‘things I want to get distracted by‘ and the other ‘things I need to do later‘.

And then I get to itΒ (usually using the Pomodoro Method).

Without fail, about 3 minutes into studying I want to procrastinate. It’s just what happens. Studying is usually boring, hard or both so there are always many, many more appealing things to do. This is the battle.

So when I think of something I want to do instead (like downloading the latest episode of Kardashians or browsing fashion blogs) I just write down whatever it is on one of the post-it notes and keep going.

If I want to get distracted by something more than once (this always happen) I just start putting little tallies next to things.

Then, at the end of my little study session, I have a look at what I wrote down and figure out if I still actually need to do any of it.

Usually there are a few things I legitimately need to do, but the majority of it I can do really quickly or don’t need to do at all.

why you should try it

I’m not going to lie – this isn’t always easy to do (and gets harder as the task gets more boring) but it has still helped me so much.

It takes away that fear that I’m going to forget to do something if I don’t do it straight away and it has made me so much more aware of how I react to things and how a lot of the things I want to do are complete time-wasters!

If you struggle with procrastination I definitely recommend giving this a try!

You might want to write different titles on your post-it notes or create an electronic list rather than a physical one – it doesn’t matter! Just give it a try and see if it works for you.

What do you think?

Do you struggle with procrastination? Have you discovered any tricks that work for you?

Don’t forget that comments are always welcome and appreciated – I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Sam xx

Author: Sam Brown

  • Great tips! My tips for procrastination are: using a to-do-list and working in small chunks. For example, every hour you work take at least a 20 minute break to grab a snack, power nap or just move around. I think we procrastinate sometimes because our bodies want us to take a break, even if it is small one.

    • Hey,

      Thanks so much for your comment – I really appreciate it!

      I love working in small chunks of time (it’s probably the only way I can actually work effectively). Starting to do that really changed my productivity but I still find myself being tempted to procrastinate even in such short periods of time. I’m working on it πŸ™‚

      Sam xx

  • This is really interesting, Sam! In order to help me focus, especially in the midst of exams, I really like the SelfControl app. I have it downloaded on my home computer and I have all the websites I love put on my blacklist. I usually set my timer for 1 hour and know at the end of it, after I’ve finished my work, I can go check those websites. I love that there’s no way to disable it in the midst of a control, so it blocks my internet distractions πŸ™‚

    • Hey Alex,

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      The SelfControl app sounds sooooo good – I definitely need something like that! I looked it up and it’s only available for Mac but I think I’m going to get Anti-Social which seems to do a pretty similar thing (except it costs $10 or something like that) and works on Windows too. Great advice thank you!

      Sam xx

  • Great thoughts, Sam!

    This is definitely a struggle! I try to set time limits on things I’m “allowed” to procrastinate on. For every hour I spend studying, I can go on Facebook, Pinterest or whatever for 15 minutes. I apply that to work or when I’m job hunting since I’m done with school now. There are always something that needs to be done and be distracted by. Way to be proactive!

    • Thanks so much for your comment Autumn! Putting a limit on things you’re allowed to procrastinate on is a great idea! I sometimes allow myself a certain amount of time to do ‘guilt-free’ procrastination – but the hard thing is stopping when time runs out!

      Sam xx

    • Awwww thank you SO much for thinking of me – I really appreciate it! I do have twitter but I haven’t used it in ages. I think my twitter is @smarttwenties πŸ™‚

      Sam xx

  • Love this idea! It’s also a great way of seeing what it is your mind wanders to the most, so you can get your Kardashian fix or whatever it is as a reward! I too have procrastination problems haha, thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much for your comment!

      I’ve found it works so well for me and as you said it’s a great way to figure where you’re mind wanders. So many random things come up when I’m studying haha

      Sam xx

  • Ah where were you when I was studying Sam!? I have a feeling you would have taught me to be so much more productive. πŸ™‚ I have fairly limited self control, so if I really needed to get something done I’d take myself off to study somewhere with no internet. It’s amazing how much I got done when I literally had nothing else to do. Although, I would usually give staring off into space a good go too…!

    • Thanks SO much for your comment Jen!

      That’s hilarious – I will usually try anything not to study too, including staring off into space haha but taking myself completely away from the Internet has also been really helpful too! Great tip Jen πŸ™‚

      Sam xx

      Sam xx

  • I love the pomodoro technique. I normally find once I’ve done one segment of that I’m feeling a lot more motivated to work. it’s just getting the initial bit done!

    • Hi Laura,

      Me too! I find it really helps me get over that first ‘hump’ because often I find that I make tasks out to be a lot harder/more boring than they actually are and once I’ve started its a lot easier to keep going!

      Sam xx

  • Hi Sam, I really enjoy your tips on productivity! I have tried the two post-it technique for making better progress on my PhD thesis and it worked really well for me. Also, I feel a greater sense of accomplishment for all the “do later” tasks this way, because I notice that there is an extra task, extra effort required here, and don’t just wonder where the time went and why I still haven’t made more progress on the “main event”. So thanks for improving my workflow!

    • Hi Sarah, how did you get on with your thesis? I’m writing up at teh moment and really struggling with procrastination!

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