How I Stopped Procrastinating in University

Procrastination felt like the greatest tool in the world. And it nearly ruined my marks in first year.

I was always felt great ditching schoolwork to sling memes. When due dates rolled around, dread took over, and I’d spend the next day cranking out eight page essays in a caffeine induced haze.

The issue with procrastination is that it stemmed from the battle between instant gratification at work and long term gratification in school. I realized that it lays all in the mindset, and figured out how I rationalized my way out of doing work.

Work was easy. It was defined effectively, giving structure in ways school could not. I worked for a set period of hours each day, came home with a defined amount of money, and slept easy knowing I had accomplished my goals.

School was hard. It was an undefined quagmire of long classes and impossible assignments. Work was sporadic, and was crammed in between procrastination under the guise of long lunches and paper airplane making in the study room. What goal was I working towards? Who knew? I worked towards some ill defined horizon three years down the road where I’d have an English degree and do something related to writing. Or drop out and become a PokemonGO master.

Of course school wasn’t ill defined dreck and work a bastion of efficiency because of their internal states. This came from my external projections. I chose this mindset and suffered for it.

Instead, I realized that the only way that school would prove fruitful was to break it down to these principles of work. This manifested in restructuring the define value, time, and goals that fostered a sense of accomplishment.

How did I manage this?

When I work I derive let’s say, 100 dollars per day. With my old mindset around school, it wasn’t tied to any concrete number. Instead though, I found out that each class cost 15$ per session. In response, I calculated that I’d spend anywhere from  45 to 60 dollars per day on classes. When I attended I crunched this number and determined that if I worked and attended, ideally I’d earn 45 to 60 dollars worth of value out of each class. This appeased the capitalist gods and my attendance records shot up.

Time has always been a construct and can just as easily be applied to school as it can work. I set an objective metric by dedicating 1-2 hours per day, six days a week towards studying. This manifested in working on essays, reading, and studying ahead. More importantly, it sustained the structure I craved and allowed a sense of achievement to creep in. An unintentional benefit was how, I no longer had to cram for exams. By studying each day and internalizing the lessons, absorbing four months’ worth of lessons in all-nighters became an unnecessary anachronism. The indefinable hours spent working became defined.

Working in tandem, time and value produced goals that were easy to set and achieve. By creating daily and weekly to do lists, I once again slept easy knowing I had conquered the day. The internal value of work had been generated. Ultimately, I learned that focusing on the day won the degree, and fixating on the future lost it. With these tactics I managed stress, school, and focused on goals that truly mattered. Like figuring out how my PokemonGO gym leader is already max level.

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