Two A.M. You’re five hundred levels in on your favorite Nintensonysoft XBLO game, Call of Modern Heroes of Duty. Only the soft glow of pulsating electrons from your game console’s screen provides light to your sleep-starved eyes.
Then you hear it. The sound of a large rectangle, the door to your room, moving behind you. Chills go down your spine. You muster a soft whimper, but no sound comes out.
“Billy,” the voice bellows. The terrible, haunting voice. Later in life, you will see a psychiatrist about your nightmares of that judging, motherly shadow standing just a few feet away. You throw the Nintensonysoft at the wall in panic, but to no avail – it does not frighten the all-knowing homeschool parent.
That’s when she finally asks it.
“Have you done your math homework today?”
But you have not done your math homework today. In fact, you have played video games for so many hours of the day that your very soul itself has successfully been uploaded to a server in Nintensonymicrosoft’s headquarters and will be shipped to a secure location within hours. Your math has been – dare I say it? – procrastinated.
But wait! What’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? An eraser? More homework? No, it’s motivation man, also known as the Homeschool Survivor. I’m here to give all you homeschool students out there some advice on how to avoid the most common procrastination-related pitfalls. Now, I’m the worst procrastinator I know, so this advice is legit. Here me out here, starting with the most important piece of advice:
1) Have a schedule and follow it
As with many pieces of advice, this one is much harder than it sounds for chronic procrastinators (I’m sure there’s a fancy medical term for our condition somewhere). Keeping a schedule is less about constricting your time and more about getting yourself into habits. If you can work on the same thing at the same time every day, it will become natural to you, and you’ll have less difficulty dropping other things to work on it. Speaking of which…
2) Learn to drop things at a moment’s notice
Obviously this doesn’t apply to really important things like making sure a pot of hot water doesn’t set your house on fire or choosing to cut the red wire versus the blue wire. Most of the time, though, when you’re following a schedule and it’s time to start doing something (like homework) you don’t want to, you’re going to be preoccupied with another thing (like video games). I’ve learned through experience that saying “okay, just five more minutes” to yourself turns into ten more minutes and then eleven hundred more minutes. Before you know it, your digital clock says 2 A.M., and you’re transported back to the start of this article. Learning to drop distractions from your schedule is tough, but a skill worth having.
3) Force yourself to work (early)
Another difficult skill to learn. You see, procrastination is built upon multiple processes in your lazy-butt mind. The fear of starting on work. The adrenaline rush of completing something three hours before the deadline. The desire to do the things you want to do before the things you don’t want to do. However, all of these concepts are absolute poison to your work ethic. The only way to eliminate them involves learning how to force yourself to start and work on a project or assignment at the time you’ve set out for it. In terms of difficulty, learning to push past your doubts, fears and moment-to-moment desires is around as difficult as going off a drug (and I say this as a person who’s fought with doing both not too long ago).
And no: if you want to stop procrastinating, you’re not allowed to procrastinate on learning to procrastinate. Drop that game console, trash that magazine and get to work! It’ll be hard, but it’s one of the more important steps in becoming a successful adult.