Intro: How to Stop Procrastinating: University Method.
You know it. Many things to do, you even know about the reward for the work and you are still not inspired enough to even start to do anything.
I have tried many approaches to stop procrastinating:
- Plan the work to be done upcoming week and punish myself for every incomplete task in the end of the week.
- Assign virtual experience points to myself for every complete task.
- Many other rewarding methods that work in computer games.
None of these methods worked for more than 2 weeks. How the hell could I work for 3 companies while studying at university and now, 5 years later, I am not able to force myself to do work even for my own company?!? So I started to turn my daily routine to the routine from the university times. And it started to work and it works even now, after 5 months. Therefore I think it is a good idea to spread.
- In my home country, Slovakia, university students usually attend school from monday to thursday, friday is free and also saturday and sunday. So the students have 3 free days per week.
- Students have timetables for monday to thursday and usually 5 or 6 subjects. Total time for a single subject is 2x 1.5 hour or 3x 1.5 hour. Total time spent at school is 15 to 18 hours per week. Free schedule looks like this: (attached image). (There is also an empty Excel file attached.)
Step 1: Create Your Own Timetable
Currently I am working on 4 projects. So every project is considered a subject and therefore I should assign 2x 1.5 hours or 3x 1.5 hours per week to every project. Friday should be free. There should be spaces for lunch So my timetable should look like this: (attached image).
Step 2: Final Redesigns
Now I still have some unassigned time intervals. I consider project2 slightly larger so I will assign 1.5 hour more to it. I also have some paperwork to do. So I will assign 1.5 hour interval to it too. Now it is 18 hours of total worktime per week. But it is 18 hours of a real work.
Step 3: Rules
- You are allowed to work on a project when and only when it's time for it. Don't work on the project when it's not time for it. Forbid yourself from doing it.
- While it's time for a project you can only do things related to that project and nothing else. No Facebook, no 9gag, no games, no unrelated chat or e-mails. It's just 1.5 hour and then there will be 10 minutes for distraction.
- If you really have nothing to do in the project then you have free time. But I usually find some details of the project that can still be improved although it is not necessary.
- Change your timetable twice or 3 times a year.
Step 4: Conclusion
I used to spend 40 hours per week at work. After applying this method I am really working. I spend 18 hours at work, I do 2 times more work than before and I am not stressed for work that I should have done but I haven't. During the first week I have done tasks that were laid aside for 2 years!
- Using this method you will easily finish even boring tasks because you will know that you just have to work for, let's say, 30 more minutes on this project and then the time for more interesting project will come. THIS IS THE KEY ELEMENT! This is why this method works.
- You are not always thinking about how much work there is to be done and when will you manage to do it. Your mind is not occupied by thinking about when to do this boring task. There is a scheduled time for every task. The timetable holds the stress for you.
- You spend 15 to 18 hours per week working, you have free friday and somehow more work is done and you earn more money than before.
- One morning you will find out you have done all the work and have nothing to do all day. It is the time to add one more project which is 2x 1.5 hours.
- Working "until the work is done" is very stressful and frustrating. Using this method you will work "until the time is up" and the system ensures that there will be enough time for the work to be really done.
You can also consider books or sport to be projects and assign some intervals to them too.
Give it a try!