Procrastination can be a struggle during normal times, and during times of upheaval it can get even worse. Follow the tips below to try to combat procrastination while stuck at home!
1. Have a plan
- One of the biggest causes of procrastination is not knowing where to start or what to do, so make a plan!
- Determine what your current priorities are (they may be different than a month ago!), and write them down.
- Adjust previous semester goals and plans according to your current situation.Don’t just throw your old goals out the window, revise them.
- Add your plan to your calendar! Block off work time and writing time. Add deadlines for when things will be completed.
2. Start with something you love
- Start your day with your favorite or most engaging task (hint: this is often your own research or writing and not GA work!)
- Ensure your first priority every day is to work on something that you find really valuable and believe matters.
3. Make it easy to feel good
- Our brains love to feel good, that is why rewards (and Instagram) are so enticing, so find ways to feel good about your work!
- Write down tasks and cross or check them off when you finish to get a sense of completion – this is its own reward!
- Be your own cheerleader (or have your family cheer for you!) and give yourself praise for getting things done.
- Create a system of rewards. Remember, you can reward yourself for sticking to the plan (even if you didn’t get much done) or starting your workday on time – you decide what is reward-worthy.
4. Set some goals
- Set daily, weekly and even monthly goals. Be clear about what you want to do and why you want to do it.
- Make sure goals are specific. For example, “Write 250 words of lit review for research paper” instead of the vague “work on research paper.”
- Hold yourself accountable. Don’t allow yourself to compromise on your goals; revise if needed but otherwise treat them like a coursework deadline.
- Communicate your goals to others – a labmate, spouse, friend, or family member can make for a great accountability buddy. Ask them to share their goals with you so you can reciprocate.
- Share your goals with other graduate students and stay accountable by joining a Graduate Student Community.
5. Give yourself a break
- We are currently living through a very unexpected and unusual time. You might not be productive, you might procrastination, you might feel bad, and all of that is okay! Mental state is highly related to productivity, so be kind with yourself.
- Don’t try to be who you were before COVID-19. Embrace the changes this has brought. At home with your kids? Enjoy it! Lab shut down? Take time for that writing you’ve been putting off.
- Don’t judge yourself for not being productive or working like you used to. You are in a new space, with new stressors, and new responsibilities, of course you aren’t working like you used to
- Do what you need to do to feel good. Spend time spreading kindness, writing down positives, or connecting with loved ones. Take time off of work to engage in a craft or get outside.
- Feeling good will help you get back to work and be productive.