How to Break the Procrastination cycle

Sawyer Weaver, reporter

Every day, hundreds of people tell themselves “I’ll do it later” but unfortunately many of us never do. How does this habit start? Why do we do it? And most importantly, how can we stop before it’s too late?

The New York Times says Etymologically, “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinate — to put off until tomorrow. But it’s more than just voluntarily delaying. Procrastination is also derived from the ancient Greek word akrasia — doing something against our better judgment.

That self-awareness is an important part of why procrastinating makes us feel so bad. When we procrastinate, we’re not only aware that we’re avoiding the task, but also that doing so is a bad idea. And yet, we do it anyway.

This is why most people say that when they procrastinate it causes them stress. Some people believe that when procrastination causes stress that stress can cause them to stop procrastinating.

As a disclaimer, I am not a medical professional and none of this is prescriptive, I am simply sharing my personal experience and easily accessible information from experts. Take what you want from this and I do hope you find some helpful tips

“I really make myself stressed a lot, and when stress builds up, I then make myself do whatever I am procrastinating about,” junior Silas Burgos said.

“I don’t work well under stress. when I procrastinate, it causes a lot of stress before deadlines.”, credit recovery teacher D Barton said.

No one works well under stress and when procrastination causes stress it starts a vicious cycle.

And let me just say this is a topic I have a lot of experience with.

What I find works for me is to put on music or a podcast as I’m doing the things I don’t want to do, such as schoolwork or chores.

This gives you something to focus on so it doesn’t seem like your doing much. You’re more focused on what’s happening in the podcast or your favorite song that before you know it, you’re done. Another thing that helps is if you want to hang out with friends instead of doing the thing, just call your friend and be talking to them as your doing the thing. you will be catching up with a friend and also catching up on your work. this way work becomes a simple task rather than a punishment.

But what if I’m doing something that requires my full attention?

One way to help yourself get through a difficult task is to give yourself rewards at different checkpoints of the task.

If you have to read 2 chapters of a textbook and answer 10 questions about it you can read a chapter then take up to a five-minute break, then read the second chapter, then another 5-minute break, then the first 5 questions, then a break, then the last five. The break duration and checkpoint will vary depending on how long the chapters are and how detailed the questions are. If they are simple questions needing a one-sentence answer at most, maybe do them all in one go.

Some extra tips are to only use your phone for music, try to keep your phone in your pocket, tell people you’re going to be busy studying and that you will get back to them afterward, then put your phone on silent mode so you don’t even hear the notifications. this is a great way to stay focused on the task at hand.

Barton recommends scheduling time for yourself, and setting reminders “I joke with people that I work early so I can be lazy afterward”

Many students procrastinate with schoolwork until the last minute or simply don’t do the work, leaving them unprepared for college and life later on.

Barton the credit recovery teacher shared some shocking numbers with me
“We get about 850 completions in the beginning of the year and only 200 in the fall”

“They [students] don’t gain the full advantage of the education. many just don’t graduate.”

The most important thing to focus on when trying to break the habit of procrastination is your mindset.

“At the end of the day, what you can think may break the habit, but it can also make it worse,” says senior Isaiah Hunter

Your mindset can make or break you, so it’s important to make sure it’s working for your benefit.
Take time for self-care, it is easier to procrastinate when you are mentally or physically tired, so make sure you are letting yourself rest. Take breaks to do things that you find charge up your mental or physical battery.

Some activities that help me and that you should consider trying are taking a break to love on your pets, going outside for a minute, watering your plants, washing your face, or getting something to drink. These are all things that can help you wake up and feel recharged. try to limit the amount of soda and sugary drinks you drink while working as that can make you feel drained, instead try green tea, ice coffee, and fruit juices. try to eat healthier foods like trail mix, fruit, crackers and cheese, veggies and dip or hummus, and avoid chips and popcorn.

It’s important to focus on your mental health and not just the tasks you need to be done. Practice self-care when you feel drained or especially tired. Try going on a walk, reading a book, painting or doing an art project, baking, or gardening. If you don’t have much time, try taking a bath, putting on a face mask, or doing a hair mask at night as your getting ready for bed.

Just remember that your mental health matters just as much, if not more as your upcoming deadlines and tasks.

I hope some of these tips help you break the procrastination cycle in your life