Many genuine procrastinators I am sure of (including myself) tend to be those who find themselves regarded for their intelligence and misunderstand that as being a signal that they don’t have to have a format for their brain’s day to day activities. These folks wrongly assume they don’t really really need to give their brain the proper respect and activity that it requires and warrants. So these folks ignore it—let it run wild on the Internet, gorge itself on Reddit and Facebook and video games (the psychological counterpart of junk food and jerking off), and invite it to lapse into a vicious loop of unaccountable information binging and inevitable self loathing.
Your brain adapts to, and then endorses, the behaviors to which it is continuously exposed. That fact fails in your favor at this moment, but you can change that with help from the following recommendations:
1) Plan your hours. By means of scheduling your everyday routines, you provide a desire to be present and diligent for your accountabilities. Furthermore, this will discourage the huge, unhealthy periods of surf time that occur when you do not plan your time out ahead. As far as skill acquisition like studying goes, I would suggest time management systems like the Pomodoro Technique to provide your brain a healthy program length. You may also choose to invest in a timer, or a product that acts like one, so you can check how much time you’re really spending plugged in, and hold yourself answerable for it later on.
This trick also extends to structuring your sleep schedule. For those who are in college, there’s always fun things like get-togethers and dorm CoD seshes along with leisurely substance use transpiring at any time within the university grounds. Even if not, there is always the Internet. Learn to pull the plug, even when you don’t feel like you wish to stop, and get your eight hours per night. It does wonders for your self-control, self-image, and your presence in the real world rather than inside your head.
2) Figure out why you procrastinate. Procrastination is a type of experiential avoidance that creates itself through an unwillingness to feel uncomfortable emotions, or be in unpleasant predicaments, even at the expense of personal hindrance. I personally was a World of Warcraft (a massively multiplayer online game) addict because I wanted to stay away from fighting my anxiety, low self-esteem, and sensations of helplessness. Likewise, I felt like losing myself in my laptop presented an avenue where I could feel “in command”. It is unique for everybody, but this perspective is very prevalent nowadays. You owe it to yourself to be honest about what it is you are procrastinating from, and the reason why you fell into the habit. It may take some reflection.
3) Learn to tolerate, or even appreciate, putting effort and time into your labor. A lot of people, especially the intelligent types, have been trained into assuming that truly smart individuals do not need to work hard at what they do. I was one such fool, and since I breezed through my AP science courses in high school, I deluded myself into thinking I didn’t have to study for anything, and that cramming was good enough. Then college-level Organic Chemistry came along and punched me in the face.
You may, at the moment, also believe that you are smart enough not to study. Do not kid yourself any longer. That’s your brain talking, ruined by lack of discipline and fattened up on trivia that it will never need to use, trying to sweet-talk you into not eating broccoli and having ice cream instead. You’ve got to be a tough-love parent, and make sure your kid eats his vegetables.
4) Incentivize your results. You are your very own RPG (role-playing game) hero. Procrastinators grapple with stalling pleasure. Technology lovers, specifically, are driven to surf by the easy “accomplishment” sensation from mastering tidbits of Avatar or My Little Pony trivia, or perfecting their magic rotation in World of Warcraft, or racking up no-scopes in Call of Duty. This is an easier path for your brain to generate and savor small hits of dopamine than confronting real-life responsibilities—responsibilities that are more difficult, more time-consuming, and that give less evident, more uncertain rewards.
You can actually fight this habit by replacing it. Numerous recovering procrastinators come to view themselves as their own RPG player-character, their own Tamagotchi or Sim or Pocket Pikachu. Working on practice problems? Put EXP points into your INT stat. Gym time? Boost your STR. Going to networking events for your major and socializing with masters in your preferred job? Put major levels in Charisma, with points into a possible class change in the future.
Personally, I am not 100% absorbed into that kind of self-control. But I did borrow an idea from the Pomodoro Technique and Dance Dance Revolution, which happens to be combo chains. Everyday that I accomplish a basic task (studying, exercising, writing in a journal, not taking a look at x-rated materials, etc.) is a link on the string I drew on my whiteboard, while skipping a day removes the chain. I want those suckers to get too long to fit on the board.
The most important thing about this state of mind is that you need to invest in your self improvement in terms that your tech-addicted brain is already well-versed in. Consider this—if you were playing the Sims, and your Sim self had to go to work but was playing online games instead, would you let him or her remain at his computer? Heck NO!
5) You are not going to like the change in lifestyle. It’s going to feel like (profanity). Recognize it and push through it no matter what. The sensations that an addict suffers through while stopping are sweet siren calls, seductively beseeching you to slam your ship into the rocks. Your brain is used to the habits. It likes the habits. It does not intend you to quit. It will provide you with thoughts that lure you to break your combo and forsake your willpower.
You are not your habits. You are not your thoughts. They are the countless drops of water in the sea that you are cruising in. The seas may be stormy and unpredictable, and may, without the force of your will, push you into shipwreck after shipwreck. It may seem easier just to enable your ship be tossed wherever the follies of your brain take it. But it is your duty to captain your ship, especially in harder waters, and wrest yourself back on course with gritted teeth and the understanding that you are stronger in comparison to the storm.
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