We sit in the back of truck beds enjoying our youth, counting the stars one by one, when we suddenly remember that we have an essay due at 11:59 pm TONIGHT! “Of course we don’t,” you think to yourself as you sit dumbfound in denial that you forgot about this! “I would not have forgot about this!” You begin to think you are mistaken for you cannot understand how you never worked on this before now!

You jump in your car and rush home, pulling into your driveway at 10:43 pm! You leap out of the truck and rush to open the door. For a moment you seem to forget how to work a lock. You run up the stairs, taking two at a time. You throw your laptop open and get to typing on an essay! By the grace of God you have managed to place the paper in the dropbox at the respected time, yet a week later when you receive your 72 percent, you are unable to be shocked.

If this has never happened to you, please contact me and teach me your ways, for I am the queen of procrastination! And for those of you who can relate 100 percent to the situation I just described, don’t worry; I’ve got your back with four handcrafted steps to put an end to your procrastination once and for all!

Step 1: Have a one-on-one with yourself!

This is the time for you to get personal, to dig deep, and to find out why you are avoiding the task at hand! One day you are on top of the world, you are a powerhouse, and today you managed to justify spending two complete hours on Instagram. Why is that? You need to understand why you keep dodging the assignment; is it because you are weak in that course, or because you are pushed out of your comfort zone? Once you come to terms with why you are unable to do the work, you can then move past the struggle and stand on the mountain once again.

Step 2: Make a list!

Now that you are motivated it’s time to make a list. This sounds intimidating but it is one of the best things you can do to beat your procrastination! Sit down with a good cup of coffee or with a steaming mug of tea, a piece of paper, and your favorite pen. When you make your list you will need to decide what your top three tasks would be out of the day and write them on top. You could also write it in a bright color, highlight it, or put a star beside the task you need to get done above all else. When you make your list, make it so you have three things that have to get done, two things you would like to get done, and one thing if you had time for you could do, but it’s not a huge pressure on you.

  • ***Write your english essay***
  • ***Get your oil change in your car***
  • ***English discussion board***

These are your top three, which means you will do these first before you think of doing anything else! This is your priority list.

  • Study for Math test
  • Math flashcards for communications

These are two things that you would like to get done today but you will not do them first. These are important, but if you don’t get to them it will not be the end of the world. These are tasks you will be able to do the next day, so don’t sweat it.

  • Clean your car

This is the one you put on the list because you know it needs to get done but there is a huge possibility that you will not get to this. Before you do this you should shower, eat, and just make time to take care of your overall well-being.

Step 3: Set a time limit

Okay now that you have your list, this is the point where you need to give them a time limit! Why put time on perfection, you ask? If you let the project live without a deadline, you will never accomplish it in enough time.

Steps to make the best time zone for you:

  1. How long is it going to take you to finish the assignment?
    • Take into consideration all of the requirements you are expected to have for the assignment! You need research, sources, quotes, and then give yourself time to actually work through everything, whether this means you are making a poster, PowerPoint, or writing an essay!
    • Give yourself wiggle room, and don’t expect to complete an assignment right away. No matter how smart you are, everyone gets stressed out! Take time and give yourself a breather, have a good cup of coffee, or just watch an episode on Netflix. Don’t work yourself to death. You are young. Make sure you are still having fun; go hangout with friends or eat that extra piece of pizza.
    • Now, just give yourself a few a extra minutes! This time comes from no real reason, just to be careful because you do not want to fall short. You just spent all this effort on work; to not finish it in time, that can be heartbreaking. So always give yourself a little bit more time than what you think you’ll need. The world never ended from you finishing an assignment in advance, but it’s stressful when you run out of time!

Step 4 Give yourself a break!

Sometimes things come up or you get overwhelmed with the stress of classes, work, friends, relationships, family, internships, activities, and downtime. TRUST ME; you are not alone in this! Everyone hits a point where they just can’t take it any longer, where everything feels like it is falling apart and that everything is ruined. You might be thinking that you made a mistake or that college isn’t for you!

This is the point where you take a break; you need to slow down and make time for yourself. You are no longer strong if you spread yourself out too thin. Once you hit this point, and at some point you will, it is time to just draw a hot bubble bath, light some candles, and watch your favorite movie on Netflix. You could also crawl into a ball of blankets and grab a great romance novel. No matter what you choose, make sure you take this time for yourself to grow a strong foundation of health.

“One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivity are also the tools of  our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we’re idling in front of our computer screens.” -Joshua Foer