It’s time for real talk.
The Maple Nut Granola article touched upon the issue of procrastination and displayed an example how it works. If you haven’t read that yet, do that now, or after, or never. Seriously, just do whatever you want.
Let’s be clear about one thing: I am not a true-blue procrastinator. I trained myself to study in advance and get enough sleep so I can wake up on time. I like making plans, schedules, and lists. On my lists are lists I need to make, and on my schedules, I set time to make more schedules. A few of you may have cringed at the thought of enjoying such structure. I’m not saying I hold to every one of my plans. In fact, I consider myself very productive if I accomplish half of my daily to-do list.
Let’s face it: hard work is hard. Even if you enjoy what you do, and I hope that’s true, it’s still hard. It’s easier to scroll through social media or watch videos until you feel nauseous from the lack of productivity.
When I was in school overseas, I boarded with several hardcore procrastinators. My roommate, however, was the complete opposite. She worked on projects the day they were assigned and completed them long before their due date. I’d usually start working a few days or a week before the deadline and wonder if that was enough time since she finished before I started.
However, I had friends who began the night before. Or the morning of. Or in the class before. Or the night after it was due. Or the week after that. If they are reading this, they know exactly who they are, and you, my dear random reader might relate to them. To me, this behavior boggles my mind.
“Come on,” I’d say. “The essay is due tomorrow! Here’s a pen. Start writing!”
“I can’t,” replies my friend. “I don’t have inspiration for it yet. The time is not right.”
“What does that even mean? You don’t need ‘inspiration’ to explain the concepts we learned in class!”
There seems to be magic in the last minute that sends the procrastinator in a flurry of productivity. It gives them the ‘inspiration’ to accomplish what they need. Personally, I never experienced that. To me, the last minute is an explosive stress bomb to be avoided at all costs. I can’t work with deadlines breathing down my neck. Therefore, I think it is safe to say I am not a procrastinator by definition.
However, I still procrastinate, particularly when it comes to things I don’t want to do, like shopping and making phone calls. The problem is that these things still need to get done. So here are the tips I’ve found to help the procrastinators and the people who unaware that they are procrastinators:
- Prioritize. Write out your most stressful and daunting tasks and ask yourself every morning, “If this was the only thing I accomplished, would I be satisfied with my day?” If the answer is yes, do exactly that before tackling the others.
- Remove distractions. Clear your desk. Close the Facebook tab. Set your phone on silent and stow it our of sight. Then get to work.
- Incentives. Treat yourself whenever you reach a small goal, be it a short break or a snack. Don’t extend your breaks though, because that will make you lose momentum, but a brief respite can help you work more efficiently.
- Break down big projects. Tackling a huge task can be daunting; instead, create small, manageable steps to accomplish this goal.
- Early bird or night owl? Determine which time of the day is the most productive for you and use it to maximize your time.
- “Done-list.” For those with a revulsion to to-do lists, try writing what you have accomplished at the end of each day. This will help you pinpoint where you are efficient and where you can improve.
- Sleep. It’s hard to be productive when you have no energy, and the temptation to waste time becomes stronger. A good night’s rest contributes to better focus.
- Remember why. This is a tactic I use almost every day. Sometimes I sit down to write, and I feel tired, in a bad mood, or ‘not inspired.’ Then I stop and think, “Why am I doing this?” Because I’m a writer and this has been my dream since I was in elementary school. “How badly do you want this dream?” Painfully badly. “So write.”
It all comes down to this: Motivation is on you. I’ve had many people ask me how I motivate myself to write, or worse, for me to motivate them. Listen, if you’ve got something you want to do, then go ahead and do it. Don’t wait for more time or less stressful circumstance. Life will never become less busy. There’s no perfect time in the future. The ideal time to start is now.
I hope some of the tips will help you accomplish whether it be a simple phone call you’ve been pushing off or starting a life-long dream. Or you can skip all of this excellent advice and head straight to the recipe. The Maple Nut Granola recipe on this blog makes a large amount for topping and snacking, and to make bars for days on-the-go.
With increased productivity, I hope you’ll have many days on-the-go.
Maple Nut Granola Bars
- 2 cups Maple Nut Granola
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp honey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the eggs then mix with the granola and honey until well-combined.
- Spread the mixture into a 9×9 pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Let cool then slice into bars or squares.