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Beating procrastination

Procrastination is probably one of the biggest vices in the modern day working culture. It concerns every office worker and students all around the world, and Internet has made this problem even bigger. At some point procrastination might even affect your social life (those 10 hour World of Warcraft sessions aren't making your girlfriend any more interested in you) and/or work and studies ("deadline in two days? I'll start right after this round of Civ 4!"). Joseph R. Ferrari of DePaul University has found out in his extensive studies on procrastion that there are two types of procrastinators: those who delay making decisions and those who delay taking action. Decision-delayers often rely on others to make decisions for them to avoid the work and possible negative feedback. The task-avoiders are a little bit different, as their procrastination is often characterized by self-esteem problems. Therefore, they make a lot of decisions but have trouble following through. These two categories aren't mutually exclusive, of course.

Calvin and Hobbes was always spot on

Basically, everybody procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator. This term is reserved for those who delay tasks habitually and consistently so that it affects their day-to-day tasks such as work and studying. But the good thing about habits is that you can unlearn them. I have most trouble with the Internet, as I often check Facebook or Reddit for new juicy articles or updates in the middle of an important work task. It is just so goddamn easy to change the tab or window, open that one article and then after 30 minutes of reading 'The 30 most powerful beings in the Marvel universe' article I realize what I have done.

I have been able to reduce my procrastination quite a bit with some simple methods which might help you too. But before that, I recommend that you read both parts of this wonderful article about procrastination. It is very easy read and contains barely any confusing scientific jargon. Once you're finished, come back here and check these awesome methods for reducing your procrastination time:

Habits - Building and cultivating habits is a fantastic way to raise your self-esteem which at least in my case has reduced procrastination immensely. I recommend you read my previous article on cultivating habits.

Deadlining - Make up deadlines for even small tasks. Hell, divide bigger tasks into subtasks and make deadlines for those, too. Let's say you're writing a scientific paper that consists of introduction, background, method, results and conclusions. You could come up with deadline for each of these chapters and then leave some time before the real deadline to put them altogether in a nice package.

Task lists - Not much to say about these, other than try to keep them short enough and again don't pick anything too difficult or time consuming, use subtasks instead.

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Time use techniques - There are a lot of time use techniques which are suitable for different purposes. I prefer the Pomodoro technique, where work is divided into 25 minute blocks with 5 minute pauses in between. Usually I have a longer break after 3-5 blocks.

Limit your browsing time - If the problem you have is with Internet use and/or some specific websites, you can use browser extensions to prevent you from visiting those sites. Cold Turkey and StayFocusd (for Chrome) are just two of the many applications that can limit the time you can spend on these sites. Or if you have a massive problem with surfing, you can 'Nuke' the Internet for, say, 1 hour to prevent any browser use during that time.

Remove distracting ads - Ads can be pretty intrusive, and those evil marketers have come up with many ways to distract you from your tasks. AdBlock (Chrome) is an effective way of removing most advertisements from all websites.