Sometimes you read certain headlines for articles that offer simple, concise, but effective words of wisdom. People are different, and they may function better at different times of the day. I have friends who prefer to work late at night, and they choose to keep the whole day to themselves. There are benefits to this: you can rest easy during the day, and sleep in as late as you want for example.
I prefer to get everything out of the way first thing in the morning. My summer job at a restaurant taught me this lesson. Although the managers gave me plenty of hours to work, this meant that I would work during the time when everyone else is relaxing- at night, during holidays, and especially on weekends. Sure I had the time to relax the morning after, while everyone else was working, but it wasn’t my style.
If I put something off too late then I end up completing it with a half hearted effort, or not doing it at all. I’ve noticed this throughout my running and school life. I function much better in the morning. It’s an awesome feeling to get all of your priorities taken care of early, while everyone else is still in bed asleep.
You have to tackle your tasks and keep your momentum going. Think about it like this: when you’re lounging on the couch and eating potato chips you don’t want to get up and start working on anything. You’ve already settled into your action (or lack thereof). The same way works when you’re busy. It’s much easier to get any errands out of the way once you’re already out and about. Once you accomplish a task, make sure to get as much other work out of the way as possible. No distractions.
For example, let’s say I have three tasks to do for the next day. Before I sleep, I’ll write a to-do list on the “notes” section of my I-phone. I’ll keep it concise so it’s not too annoying to read it the next morning. I’ll remind myself of what I have to do the next day.
Obviously I’ll want to do more than that as the day goes on. Let’s say I want to have some extra free time to do something stupid like watch random dog YouTube videos or play video games.
I’ll keep the “running” and “homework” as my top two priorities and save the “movies” as my last priority. I know from experience I would hate knowing I have to run or do homework after doing something fun. That’s why I’ll write a to-do list, so I remind myself what I have to take care of first.
It sounds silly, but to motivate myself I’ll say, “let’s get this run/project over with so you have time to play video games/goof off/do whatever”
For me, I function better when I run first thing of the day. I feel drained if I have to run later on in the evening. The morning is the best time to get the work out of the way. After I get my run in, I’ll feel accomplished. I’ll use the momentum I have going to tackle my homework priority. I know I don’t have to run after homework since I took care of it already. This gives me an extra boost of energy to quickly finish the homework so I can relax the rest of the day.
Do the work, then play
Once I take care of all of my work, I won’t feel guilty about taking some time off. I put the work, I did my part, and I handled my priorities. Let’s say for example I reversed the priorities,
I know from experience that I won’t finish everything on this simple list with 125% (yes, 125% effort in watching movies #workhardplayhard)
If I went through my day with these priorities in this silly order you and I both know I would spend a majority of my time watching movies/hanging out.
If I start off with the “play” first, I won’t get anything accomplished. I’d be too comfortable since watching a movie and hanging out is too easy and fun. This is how procrastination starts, because I’d start telling myself that I can put the homework and running off later.
In my mind I have all of the time in the world.
After I spend all of that time hanging out and not really accomplishing anything, the last thing I’ll want to think about is homework.
This is when the mess beings, because then I’ll tell myself “I should get the run over with first.” Like I mentioned above, I hate working on something knowing I have to run later.
This’ll move the homework priority to be last on my list, and this means I have the least amount of time for that. This is why it’s better to get all of the work out of the way in the morning. Everyone has been in that moment where they try to get homework done at night, but end up getting distracted too much. Everyone else took care of business but you’re just starting your homework. Of course you’re not going to do well on it (if you do it at all). You’ll laugh to yourself and say in your mind once again “I have all the time in the world.”
Nothing will get accomplished. You’ll put it off again and again.
Kick the habit right now. Go find a sheet of paper, write in capital letters: “yesterday, you said tomorrow” and post it everywhere in your room. I had a friend do that once and I thought it was dorky, and now I’m telling you to do it. Wow that’s weird how things work.