“I’ll Stop Procrastinating…Tomorrow”

By Trilby Goouch

Blogs Editor

As students, there are lots of sources for procrastination; our freedom to study, party and attend class gives us the ability to choose how we spend our time with little guidance, which makes it all to easy to procrastinate. As Thomas Jefferson said, “never put off till tomorrow what can be done today”. I decided to partake in a weeklong challenge of productivity. I was inspired after reading Courtney Shea’s “self-improvement experiment” in The Globe and Mail, which she based off of Gretchen Rubin’s “one-minute rule” of productivity in The Happiness Project. With exams on the horizon, what better times than to develop some productive habits and reorganize my life. So, where does one start?

Clutter. One thing I can’t stand is studying at a cluttered desk. You’d think I would consequently make an effort to keep it neat and tidy, but somehow (especially post-weekend), my desk surface is in shambles. I tend to do my cleaning in blitzes; I’ll take an afternoon and make things immaculate, but I fail to keep it that way. It starts with leaving a few cups here and there, leaving my makeup out, making a pile of random sheets of paper that I’ll organize “eventually”… before I know it my desk is in piled high with stuff. I decided to spend one minute each night tidying; this included bringing dirty dishes downstairs, putting things away and throwing out makeup remover pads and scraps of paper.

Laundry & Making The Bed.

If you’re like me, washing duvet covers is a nightmare. Fitting my duvet into its respective cover is one of my least favourite chores. In an ideal world, I would wash my covers once a week, however the trials and tribulations of fighting with my duvet and cover lead me to do otherwise. My solution? I purchased duvet cover clips. Sure, I still have to crawl around inside the cover and haphazardly search for corners, but once I managed to pin all four down it was well worth it. My duvet stayed in place all week; no more bunching up in corners, and I now the next wash doesn’t seem so bad.

Folding Clothes.

My drawers started off neatly folded in Frosh Week, and have since transformed into a mass of cotton t-shirts and tank tops. I also coordinated my jeans into printed, denim and solid colour, and that too evolved into a tangled mess. This leaves me with wrinkled knits and prevents me from accessing my full wardrobe (it’s easy to forget you own a pair of jeans when they’re pushed to the back of your drawer). Determined to give my clothes the respect they deserve, I decided to fold my knits and jeans, one category at a time. On Monday I tackled denim and tanks, on Tuesday printed jeans and long sleeved tees. By Thursday, everything was in order. The key to maintaining this, I’ve discovered, is to vigilantly return each item folded; we all know that the minute we put something back unfolded, folding seems to go out the window. I also developed a rule; if I’m pulling out clothes to wear or taking them off, they get put on the bed. This ensures that by at least the end of the day I tackle hanging them up.

Tackling the to-do list

Finally, I decided to apply the one-minute rule to tasks that have been filed away but nevertheless need to get done. I compiled a list and put it up above my desk. Here was my tackle-list:

• Write down visa payment schedule and pay off at a designated day each month (two minutes)

• Dust surfaces (five minutes)

• Make bed everyday (one minute)

• Respond to emails first thing in the morning (five minutes)

• Catch up on news every morning (five minutes)

• Take morning vitamins (30 seconds)

• Wash breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes (one minute each)

• Order prescriptions before I run out (one minute phone call)

Have these habits stuck? As Gretchen Rubin said, “nothing is more exhausting than the task that has never started”. I can relate to this statement based on the surprising satisfaction and reduction in guilt I felt during that weekly challenge. For me, that’s enough motivation to make these habits stick.

Do you have any tips on beating procrastination? Let us know in a comment below.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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