Effective time management to overcome procrastination

Defeating the devil 

Situation: I have a Presentation at 5 pm

Time: 2.45 pm

Brain: Start making the slides at 3.00 pm and start preparing by 4.00 pm

At 3.00 pm

Brain: Let’s watch some videos on YouTube, reply to a friend on WhatsApp, and scroll through my Instagram feed.

At 4.30 pm

Brain: Oh no it’s already 4:30! No issues, I still have time to prepare the presentation. I will start making the PPT in 15 minutes.

Does the situation sound familiar?

We all have faced such situations frequently and have transformed ourselves into a whirlwind to finish the tasks right before the deadline. Have you ever paused to think that there is this little devil inside your head, making you delay your important tasks at hand and engaging you in different more ‘interesting’ activities?

This devil is typically short-sighted, only focusing clearly on today’s enjoyment, and usually wears rose-tinted glasses that make every other activity apart from the most important ones look rather interesting. 

No one is completely spared by this plight. All of us have pledged to defeat this devil and have failed.

In case you haven’t recognized what this devil is?

It is the famously infamous- Procrastination.

Procrastination originates from the Latin words ‘pro’ which means to forward and ‘crastinus’ which means ‘of tomorrow’. Together they mean to put off any task until later.

Procrastination is a major hindrance to one’s growth and development. Overcoming this drawback requires effort and effective time management techniques

Here are a few tips to overcome this devil and effectively utilize your time to succeed in life – 

  • Eat the Frog – Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”, This is a metaphor for time management. The frog symbolises the tasks that seemingly look difficult and tend to be ignored or avoided but need to be accomplished for personal growth. Listing down the tasks that you tend to avoid helps you plan your day better.
  • Do not delay these tasks, instead plan them in a way that you finish the tasks when you are most productive during the day.
  • To-do list – Create a daily to-do list. This will help you identify, prioritize and accomplish the tasks effectively.
  • Time allocation – Allocate time for each task or activity and try to finish it within the allocated time.
  • Monitor yourself – Identify the time of the day when you are most productive and allocate tasks or activities that you tend to procrastinate the most for that period
  • Note – Maintain a personal diary and list down all you accomplished and pending activities. This will help you monitor how much time you need to perform any task, keep a check on the tasks pending and plan your day accordingly.
  • Avoid distraction – Train your mind to focus its attention on the task a hand and use techniques or reward or punishment for wavering off track or being prompt in it.
  • Avoid distractions- Train your mind to focus on the activity at hand and not wander off. Many apps are available that lock your phone or a particular app for a predetermined time to avoid distractions. Switching off your phone or minimizing the websites that distract you is also an effective way to keep your mind from wandering.
  • Reward – Reward yourself whenever even a small task on your list is accomplished. This will create the impression that accomplishing the tasks is a lucrative opportunity, thus tricking your minding into avoiding procrastination.

As Chinua Achebe rightly puts it, “Procrastination is a lazy man’s apology.”

Thus, through simple tricks, one can easily avoid or defeat the devil of procrastination, which makes every important task look either difficult, unpleasant, or just plain boring.

MIT School of Distance Education is an institute engaged in the holistic development of working professionals. Hence along with academics, a focus on mental health and mental conditioning is necessary. 

MITSDE Harbour is an initiative focused on helping students make positive changes in themselves to achieve their goals. It is an initiative for students beyond the usual periphery of the course.

The program helps to deal with stressful situations, provides guidance on techniques like time management, effective study, self-awareness, and coping strategies, and motivates you to always do your best despite any challenges you may face along the way.