Breaking out of a procrastination cycle

Scene: You're two hours away from your deadline. You sit at your desk and realise that a cup of coffee will give you a kick start. You drink your coffee while watching a video on YouTube as you tell yourself you're cashing in on your break now and you won't be taking any breaks later. You finish watching one video and a voice whispers, 'What's the harm in watching another? You still have a few hours left.' And thus, you find yourself trapped in the doomed loop of procrastination. Getting out of this loop is tricky but here are some methods which may work for you.


A good start to breaking a habit is figuring out what aids the habit i.e, what you do to procrastinate. Do you endlessly scroll your newsfeed? Do you take random online quizzes? Whatever the source may be, do something to stop it. You can switch your phone off and keep it somewhere far where it would require a lot of effort to reach. You could use screen locking apps like Detox, which will only allow you to answer calls. You could also tell your mom or sibling to remind you to finish the job first if they find you lurking around the TV. Block your procrastination at the source, and you'll have nothing to do but convince yourself to finish it.


To begin any task you must decide to sit with it. Take your time but be adamant to not get up from the chair. Your only job in the world right now is sitting in the chair with the book you've been avoiding for the past six months. You'll find yourself flipping through the images at one point, reading the subtitles and something might spark your interest making you look into it and before you know it, you've started 'studying'.


A task can often feel daunting because of the amount work involved and the confusion regarding how you'd go about it. But in such circumstances it is important to remind yourself that you need to finish the task first, for now, it doesn't matter if it's good. Make a plan to figure out how you'd reach the end goal and write down the steps if need be. Now focus on those micro tasks and check off the things you've done. Once you see the checklist getting shorter, you'll feel better about yourself and back yourself to finish.


I know you'd prefer to watch a TV series or scroll your heart out on Facebook rather than finishing your important tasks but what if you could do them both? Create your own reward system. Do not seek YouTube or social media as your reward system because it's easier to get distracted and spend hours there for which, you'll end up hating yourself. If you can finish two chapters then promise to treat yourself to some chocolate or once you're done with the syllabus go out or watch that movie you've been wanting to. It's a win-win situation.

It's important to note that these mechanisms might seem far off your forte but it's important that you try. And once you do, don't be too hard on yourself if you can't pull it off, keep trying. You'll get there grasshopper.

Nazifa is a twelve year old trapped in a twenty year old body, who is afraid of the dark and believes melted cheese is the solution to all of life's problems. Send help at


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