I am a born procrastinator! I will watch hours and hours of videos on Youtube. I will watch episode after episode on Netflix. I will even do the dishes and clean my room/studio, just to avoid doing the work I actually have to do. That's why I had to come up with ways to trick myself into being productive and actually doing the work I have to do. Since I figured I'm probably not the only person that has this problem, I thought it might be helpful to share my tips and tricks to stop procrastinating with you guys.
The stuff I'm going to share with you are things that I use myself and that work for me. If you have trouble focusing I suggest you give these tricks a try, but do not get discouraged if they don't work for you. We are all wired differently and every single person's mind works in a different way, that's why things that work for me, might not work for you, but whatever you do, do not stop trying to find a way. It took me four years of university to finally find ways in which I can increase my productivity and stop procrastinating, but eventually I found them and you will too.
I found this app last year, while I was studying for my exams and struggling to stay concentrated. So I turned to the internet and searched for some good productivity apps. In the several articles I read about productivity-boosting apps, this one always seemed to come up. So I decided to give it a try.
The app costs €1,99 in the App Store, and let me tell you, it is the best €1,99 I've ever spent!
The way this app works is as follows:
You decide how long you want to stay focused (this ranges from 10minutes to 120minutes) and plant a tree for that amount of time. Once you have planted your tree, you can no longer leave the app or your beautiful little tree will die. You can still pick up your phone, should you get a phone call, but that's pretty much it. At the end of your chosen amount of time you get a notification, saying that your tree has grown. You also get a certain amount of coins (depending on the amount of time you stayed focused), which you can use either to buy new kinds of trees for you to plant (like a kitten tree or an octopus tree), or to actually buy a real tree that the creators of the Forest app will plant with one of their partners (their partners change regularly).
And by planting trees throughout your day, you will create your own forest.
I know this might sound kind of silly when I explain it like this, but I swear it works! You feel guilty when you let a tree die, so you don't want to do that and that's why you keep working even when you don't feel like it. You can't check Instagram, because your tree will die. You can't check Facebook, because your tree will die. You can't check Snapchat, because your tree will die. And let's be honest here, are those not the three most distracting and mind-numbing apps you have on your phone?
This app has increased my productivity tremendously and if you are a serious procrastinator that is easily distracted by their phone, I really advice you to install this app. It will completely change the way you study, for the good!
You might have already heard about this one, since bulletjournaling has become very trendy lately. Just look it up on Instagram (during your work- or studybreak of course) and you'll find hundreds of accounts dedicated to bulletjournaling.
So what is a bulletjournal?
A bulletjournal is something very personal that you can design however you like. You start out with an empty (bulleted) notebook (I use one by Moleskine) and turn that in to your very own, personalized journal/diary/etc. This way you can create a diary or a journal that is designed to your specific needs. In my case this means that I need an overview of my month, so I can plan out what weekends I can go to work, what weekends I need for studying, what weeks are free to go on a holiday and what weeks I need to be at school or have an intership,... Other than that I also use this as my to do list, my normal diary (things I have planned every week and every day) and I also use this as a habit tracker.
Now, how do I use my bulletjournal to stop procrastinating?
There are two ways in which I use this bulletjournal to try and be more productive. First of all there's the daily planner. Every single day, before I do anything else that day, I write a list in my bulletjournal of all the things I need to do that day. Every single tasks gets it's own bullet and once you finish a task, you cross it off. This way you get a nice overview of what you have already done and what you still need to do. It keeps you organised, but it also keeps you accountable! Even if you don't like the idea of creating an entire bulletjournal, this is still a very good tip: just make a to do list at the beginning of the day with all the tasks you need to do that day. And go in to detail about them, use a bullet for every single chapter you need to study that day instead of making a bullet that just says study. It keeps you accountable!
The other way I use my bulletjournal to increase my productivity is my habit tracker at the back. The way I use my habit tracker is, I write out the dates for the entire month and on the side I write everything I want to track. At the end of each day I fill in my tracker. One of the things I want to track is the amount of time I study. When you track stuff like this, it makes it easier to compare your habits over the course of a month. For example, I can easily spot when I've had a day where I've studied better or worse than the other days and that way I can try and figure out why I studied better or worse on that particular day and what I can do to work on that.
This one's kind of self-explanatory. If you work/study hard for a certain amount of time or if you finish a task or a chapter, you get a little reward. For me this reward is an episode of New Girl or Friends for every two hours I study (I take a little 5minute break in between hours as well). It's important to stay focused and to work hard, but every once in a while, if and when you have worked hard, it's important to relax as well and to give yourself a little pat on the back, whether that's in the form of an episode of your favorite show, or a video from you favorite Youtuber, or even a cookie that you really really like.
It can't be all work and no play 'cause you will go crazy if you do that to yourself! So I guess my final tip is: Take a little study or work break every once in a while. This doesn't need to be a long break but give your mind some time to recharge. You would give your body a little time to recover after you ran a marathon so why wouldn't you do the same with your mind after a long day of work or studying?
I really hope you try these tips and tricks and I hope they can help you to get your work done and to stay more focused. Also, let me know if you would like a more in depth blogpost about my bulletjournal, where I talk you through the entire thing.
I hope you have a nice day and I'll talk to you later,