You’ve got an essay due and your executive function skills leave much to be desired. Follow these tips to curb your procrastination:
1. Block social media.
Use apps like StayFocusd on Chrome which give you a short amount of time each day to browse FB/Twitter, and then shut you out for the rest of the day. After the app locks you out, it makes it very difficult to disable it (don’t waste your time trying!).
2. Work on your essay for just one minute.
This is the Japanese principle of kaizen – instead of trying to achieve too much too fast, set yourself an achievable goal instead. Just one minute. Why does this work? Because the hardest part of working on an essay is simply starting: by giving yourself a goal of a minute’s work you can overcome this hurdle.
3. Reward yourself throughout the writing process.
Treat. Yo. Self. After writing, say, 250 words give yourself a cookie, buy a little something for yourself online, watch a Jenna Marbles video. Whatever. You just need to reward yourself throughout the whole process, not just when you’ve finished. You should know what kind of carrot will make you work the best – like with anything in life, know thyself.
4. Schedule in feedback time with a smart friend.
Ask a trusted friend or loved one (preferably an intelligent one) if they can give you feedback on your essay, and if they agree, tell them you’ll send what you’ve already written within the next three days or so – this will give you a deadline within a deadline to complete as much as possible before you show them what you’ve got.
5. Reassess your life goals.
High school aside, if you’re finding yourself having to write an essay on a topic that doesn’t interest you in the slightest, it’s time to ask yourself: what are you doing with your life? Either you’re writing this essay to keep your parents happy, for future career success, or because you still don’t know what your plan is. Whatever. Figure it out and think about why you have to do it. And if it’s still not worth it, maybe it’s time to change something. You know what’s worse than writing this essay? Working a job you hate for the foreseeable future.
So good luck. Now, stop procrastinating and start writing!