The 6 step process
Yes, ‘procrastinating early’ may seem counterintuitive, but it works. It’s Monday and you’re assigned a research paper that’s due on Friday. How are you going to do quality work and get it done on time?
1. Fool Yourself
As soon as the teacher gives you the assignment, convince yourself that you need to have it done by Wednesday so your writing can marinate for a while before it’s due. Changing the perceived due date is key; without doing this correctly the whole process doesn’t work.
Go home on Monday night and work on other schoolwork. If you really want to work on the paper right away, then do it. However, for most people procrastinating is more appealing. The extra time holding off can help you brainstorm good ideas.
3. Freak out
During school on Tuesday, start to think about how you have to have the project completed tomorrow and you still haven’t started.
This new pressure to work will help you stay motivated since you have little time for distractions. However, don’t let this pressure get to the point where it affects your focus in other classes. That leads to bigger problems.
4. Get to work.
It’s Tuesday night and now that you feel like you’re behind schedule, work. It’s very easy to undo step 1 and revert to the normal due date, but don’t do this. Avoid distractions and go all out.
It’s Wednesday morning. You hopefully have a full research paper written. If not, you should be really close. Now is when you can let yourself remember that Friday is the real due date.
Boom. Bonus time.
It’s like a free extension. Suddenly you have another two days to work on it. This gives you enough time to ask your teacher about the paper, review it again, and make necessary changes.
6. Turn it in
If you successfully procrastinated early and maintained focus during the reviewing days then you should be really proud of your work. The time stress was isolated to just Tuesday afternoon and you even got to procrastinate a bit.
Adjust this time frame for your own assignments and work efficiently when you have to. Be strong-willed and stick to your deadlines. If you master procrastinating early, you’ll be set for success.