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How Do I Stop Procrastinating?

Wall clock waiting (1 of 1)

As finals come up, I always get overwhelmed with all that I have to finish. Finals are stressful, but so are all the assignments that are due this same week for every single class. The sad part is that I had weeks to complete these assignments, but I somehow let time pass without even starting them.

People tend to blame time for their lack of productivity. We can’t seem to get things done, and we often conjecture the false conclusion that we are deficient in our time management. Hours of my day have been spent watching YouTube videos, daydreaming about winning the lottery and on other mundane thoughts. Meanwhile, my more important priorities were not met. I clearly have the time to finish my important tasks such as schoolwork, but I choose to manage this time in a detrimental manner. It makes no sense, so why do I procrastinate?

We all procrastinate perhaps because we cannot manage our moods. The Oxford Dictionary defines mood as, “a state of mind of an emotional cast which is temporary, yet which color a person’s responses and reactions quite generally.” One’s moods fluctuate throughout the day, and when it is time to perform an unfavorable task (schoolwork, texting someone back, etc.) we cast that temporary emotional state of mind that might persuade us to detour from what needs to be done.

We detour from our priorities during these unfavorable moments only if we allow ourselves other favorable options. Often times I do give myself the option to watch YouTube videos when I know I should be doing my schoolwork, and it is my mood that determines this response. We just need to remember that this mood that is cast on us is only temporary. It is similar to a craving, and I like a diet, procrastination is susceptible to temptations. Taking these temptations, like playing an hour of chess instead of doing my work, is when procrastination wins.

I the cause of my procrastination is my moods, then I now need to define the sources that influence my moods. There are too many really, and I think this is where the real problem of procrastination lies. I believe the primary influences come from our genes, our diet and our environment. Any other influences are transcended from any combination of these three primary influences. Mastering influences that we have the power to modify is key to managing our moods.

It won’t happen overnight, but through subtle changes in habits, one can lower their level of procrastination and learn to get in the mood to get things done.

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