I chose to take a gap semester this semester, so I set some reasonable goals for myself to finish by the end of the fall: finish two projects, do several Leetcode exercises a day and work on my research projects. Nothing too fascinating, really.
Unfortunately, most of my days went like this. First, marinate in bed for an hour. Second, stumble over to my desk and open my code editor. Alas, ten minutes later, my phone would appear in my hand and I would end up accomplishing one task every three hours. After a week of this, I decided it could not go on. While there are many strategies out there to battle procrastination such as setting up a schedule, rewarding yourself and taking a deep breath, I did not find these methods aggressive enough. Thus, I came up with some of my own!
Confiscate your phone and put it outside of the room
Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. Throwing my phone into my parents’ bedroom curbed my urge to check my messages. Doing so no longer possible without transporting my body outside of my room — something I was most definitely too lazy to do.
Use SelfControl to block websites on your computer
SelfControl is an app for Mac computers that blocks you from visiting a list of blacklisted websites that you create for yourself. You can even set specific amounts of time during which these self-imposed restrictions take effect. This makes it actually impossible to online shop or text people while you’re trying to get things done!
Go to coffee shops
If you are in a place where current health guidelines allow you to do so, go outside! Sitting in public with a laptop does wonders. Some people feel pressured to work because they don’t want the general public to think they’re doing nothing. Personally, I think going to a coffee shop and watching Netflix is weird and meaningless, and that alone is enough pressure to get me going.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique that consists of studying for 25 minutes, then taking a short one minute break. I found this method to be quite effective because it prevents you from overworking yourself, so your brain remains intact and ready to conquer the next task on your list.
So the next time you find yourself getting distracted despite having assignments due, and the fear of potential unemployment is not enough to get the grind going, try out some of these methods!
Contact Kristel Fung at [email protected].