Welcome back for another week of experimentation in the world of habits.
This week’s challenge: No Procrastination
This last week I decided to not do any “fun” activities until my work was done for the day. I have to preface this habit with the motivation behind it. One of my best friends and roommate for 3 years in now going into his second year at med school. He was a National Merit Scholar in high school (tested into the 99% percentile), graduated from Whitewater with a 4.0 with ease, and rarely studied. I never saw this man stressed out, frantically typing a paper, or pulling an all-nighter. I would constantly ask him how he had all this free time when I was doing school work and he simply replied, “I already did my homework.” He laid down this wisdom
“You’re going to have to do the work anyways so I would rather get it out of the way as early as possible and then enjoy the free time with no stress.”
Obviously, this has gotten him pretty far in life so I decided to try that this week. I made sure that my homework was done before I did any extracurricular or personal activities.
1. What was the biggest change/effects I noticed?
Stress disappeared instantly. I cannot explain how eliminating procrastination had the biggest effect on my mood. I felt I could actually enjoy my free time instead of constantly worrying about what I had to get done later.
2. What were minor changes/effects that occurred throughout the week?
As the week progressed, I found it easier to make school work a priority rather than a job that had to be done. It shifted my mindset from chore to activity and actually gave me a great structure for my morning. As we are all floating in the ambiguous blur of the day from COVID-19, structure is a beautiful thing.
3. Was this health habit enjoyable?
This was very enjoyable. It made me sleep better, enjoy the day more, and generally give the day more purpose. School work used to be, “I’ll get that done by tonight,” but shifting the procrastination to purposeful made this habit more enjoyable as the habit progressed.
4. How can this health habit sustainable in the long term?
I had to defer to the expert, my friend, on this one. He is actually hardwired to work this way, but he did say to make a list of what you need to get done without making it insurmountable. He said there basically 3 categories for work:
1. Immediate deadline – it is due that night
2. Cushion work – by doing it now you reduced tomorrow load
3. Long-term – group projects
He said the goal it to do all immediate work, as much cushion work as you feel like doing as early as possible, and at least some long-term work every day and you’ll always be fine.
Of all the things I have done, I think this one will probably be the most useful moving forward into the future. The reduction of stress is a burden off your back that will make you enjoy the day so much more as opposed to having a nagging laundry list in the back of your mind all day. I hope you choose to test-drive this habit at least once to see how much it can change your day. Having the stress removed and the deadlines monster vanquished lets you take full advantage of the age of saying carpe diem because ready or not…