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Four Steps to Recover from Procrastinating

Due to events that I’m deciding to call “out of my control,” I did approximately diddly-squat this past week. Sometimes life happens and you end up procrastinating. Let’s say you got bit by a mosquito and things spiraled and you went to the ER for a little bit. Or maybe your life isn’t as unnecessarily dramatic as mine and you just spent time sleeping instead of doing homework. Regardless, it’s Sunday night and you have a ton of stuff that needs to get done. How do you handle it?


I have a post, “How to Handle Having TOO MUCH to Do,” that is to this day really popular (probably because of @allydsgn ’s great illustration). Follow those guidelines. Do as much as you have time for.

Ask a friend for help.

Your friends can help in a couple ways – they can nag you, they can run an errand, or help you get past an anxiety you have. I use my fiance unashamedly as both motivation to work and punishment for not working. For example, I tell myself I can’t call him until I finish three tasks. On the flip side, I tell him stuff I need to do. Then he gives me the Judgiest of looks if I’m not working. Meanwhile, my sister and I sometimes hit “send” on emails that the other one is too stressed about to commit to. Find someone whose strengths complement your own, and then study with them whenever you can.

Lower one or two standards.

In emergency procrastination situations, something frequently has to give. You can only give up so much sleep. You may need to accept that a worksheet is getting turned in late, or that you have to ask for an extension on a paper, or even just that you’re not gonna get an A on something written in an hour. The goal is to do well, obviously, but in a procrastination-recovery event, your mantra is “it’s not just good, it’s good enough.” The time for perfectionism was last week.

Plan ahead to avoid procrastinating again.

Now that you have a handle on the stuff that’s already late, focus on making sure this doesn’t happen again. Plan ahead! The second I stop being plugged into my planner is the second when stuff starts slipping. I gave myself the excuse of my (honestly super minor) health issue to stop checking my planner last week. Suddenly it was Sunday at 8 pm and I had to do seven more things instead of going to sleep. Make checking your planner and calendar a constant habit. Have study time and practice time and whatever else permanently in your calendar. Actually force yourself to do stuff when you say you will – it can’t become a habit later if you don’t do it with discipline now. Procrastinating only makes it easier to continue not doing stuff.

You’re gonna be fine. Stop procrastinating, right now. Take a couple deep breaths, count down from ten, and at zero get up and go do your homework. You’ve got this!

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