5 Ways to Beat Procrastination

Trying to revise for exams? Struggling to apply for all of those graduate jobs? Thinking about leaving it all until tomorrow?  Well don’t! Help yourself to beat procrastination by reading these simple yet effective tips.


To do list

Start your day by writing a manageable to do list. Creating a strategy for your tasks can ease your anxiety and makes sure you do what needs to be done. Not only will the self-gratifying act of ticking off tasks spur you on, it will help you work out what you need to do.

To do lists help you to ease the chaos. You can work out what needs doing in what order, organising your tasks so you’re less likely to procrastinate.

You may find it useful to add a time structure to your list. Planning to apply for a job between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm, for example, will help you stay focussed and not procrastinate.

Use programmes such as Kanban Flow which is an online to-do list. You can assign yourself a set number of time per task and it times you!


Exercise first thing

Before embarking on a day of concentration, go out and get some exercise. Maybe you could go for a run in the morning, or visit the gym. The important thing to know is exercising will help stop you from procrastinating.

This is because exercising stimulates the growth and health of your brain cells, making you more able to focus on a task.

In addition to this, regular exercise will put you in a better mood and will improve your sleep. This is important as being happy and being well rested will also make you far more able to combat procrastination.


Get out of the house

You can help yourself to better focus on your tasks by simply removing yourself from distractions. Although studying in your own home sounds like a lovely idea on paper, the reality can be quite unhelpful.

You’re home environment has the danger of being extremely distracting as there’s so many other options to avoid doing what you’re meant to. You could easily get trapped in front of the telly, find cleaning to do around the house or even waste hours laying in bed.

Don’t let your own home allow you to waste time. Grab your laptop and your notes and head out. You can go to a cafe or to the local library. In these environments, there is nothing else for you to go and do. You’ll either be getting on with your work or sit there doing nothing. So you’re far more likely to just get on with it.


Mini Rewards

One of the reasons we may procrastinate is because we forget to reward ourselves when we don’t. It’s easy to get bogged down in an endless list of tasks. Completing them all can seem impossible, and with no reward, it’s easy to get fed up and go and do something else.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Work out when it’s time to work and when it’s time for a break. Separate your tasks into manageable chunks. Once you’ve finished a chunk, reward yourself. This can be anything from meeting a friend for lunch, or having a quick five minutes for a biscuit and a cup of tea.

The point is to positively reinforce your hard work. Recognise when you have done well, react positively to it, and know when it’s time to carry on with the grind. Allowing yourself regular breaks from your tasks will make them seem far more possible, making you less likely to procrastinate.


Keep off your phone.

You have to admit that you are probably addicted to your phone. Phone addiction is hugely linked with social media addiction and this can cause major problems with procrastination.

I know it’s difficult to do, but turn off your phone. Once you do it, you’ll see how much of a difference it will make to your productivity.

Without a phone, you won’t get distracted by friends texting you and phone calls throwing you off your train of thought.

More importantly, taking your phone away will keep you off social media. No more will you quickly check your Facebook, only to realise hours later that instead of working, you’ve been looking at memes all afternoon.

Simply turning your phone off can turn hours and even whole wasted days into an abundance of productivity and focus.


These tips should help keep you from procrastination, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you. If you need to get something done, only you can discipline yourself to do it. Stop falling prey to pointless distractions and just sit down and get on with the tasks at hand. And remember, the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can sit back and truly relax.


Rosie Fitzgerald is a freelance journalist, who studied English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA and has previously been published by The Tab, Babe and The Guardian.

Inspiring Interns is a recruitment agency specialising in all the internships and graduate jobs London has to offer.