#1 Posted by zoozilla (979 posts) -

I've always been really bad at getting things done - only the things that are really vital actually get finished, and only at the very last minute, when I can procrastinate no longer.

This week in particular I've been really bad. I have to write three essays for three separate classes by next week Monday, and I have not started work on any of them. I just can't seem to start - I'll sit at my computer with the intent to work, and inevitably spend inordinate amounts of time browsing sites and reading forums.

Do you guys have any "tricks" to get yourself working, even when you really don't want to?

#2 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -

I don't know. I usually just do it because I don't want to be a failure.

#3 Posted by Levius (1140 posts) -

I too would be interested in this.

Usually I leave it to the point where I get really scared that I haven't done any work an marathon it, which isn't a great strategy. What I have found is that having other people around who are also doing work can shame you into doing your work, and you can support each other.

#4 Posted by LikeaSsur (1532 posts) -
#5 Posted by Scrawnto (2450 posts) -

Poorly. But seriously, I'll put on an album and then tell myself "I'll just take a look at it and maybe do one or two things," and then a few hours pass and I realize no sound has been coming from my headphones for most of that. I have to sort of "get into the zone," to use a crappy cliche. It's not really something I can control, so my productivity goes in spurts.

#6 Edited by Ben_H (3361 posts) -

I force myself to do all my research at school where I will be more likely to not be distracted. Then I come home, hook up my lappy to a monitor, mouse and keyboard, turn off wifi, and use IA Writer in fullscreen mode. Boom 0 possible distractions. It has worked surprisingly well for me this year. I use that in class too so I actually take notes instead of browsing the internet (why don't I just write them out by hand? Because I can't write fast enough. I can type fast enough though). 
 
Edit: One thing I've realized is, at least for me, if I don't care about the subject I have something due for, I am much more likely to procrastinate. I stopped being interested in math last year and I started putting everything off and my marks dropped. I started comp sci this year and I enjoy it a ton and find it fun and I usually have my assignments done now 5 days or more before they are due. I just care about it enough to work on it. If it can't hold my interest then I won't likely do a good job on it.

#7 Posted by TheVideoHustler (406 posts) -

I've always wondered if it's just a thing you're born with. The ability to do work when it needs to be done. Or if it is a result of upbringing.

Regardless, sorry duder. I don't know how to help you.

#8 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (2010 posts) -

@LikeaSsur: Holy shit, I just copy-pasted some shit and that is brilliant.

Normally I just put some Explosions in the Sky or 65daysofstatic on and just let the album drone on repeat while I work. Also, taking a break every 30-45 minutes to go do something (I use that time to get my daily workout in, but there's plenty of shit you can get done in 10 minute chunks) is REALLY helpful.

#9 Edited by TyCobb (1972 posts) -

Personally I take medication for this. I was the same way until I realized I had Adult ADD. I actually really wished I would have done some sort of test for this as a kid. It's not the hyper activity ADD that many children are wrongly diagnosed for. I always think back at how much better I would have done in school. But, I always remember that the only medications for it at the time were Ritalin or Adderall and those have horrendous side effects. The doctor offered those to me and I refused so currently I just take Strattera and am able to get work done without issue most of the time. It has its pros and cons though. No crazy side effects, but it helps you focus and sometimes I do end up focusing on the wrong thing =)

Because it helped me out so much in my adult life, I would recommend anyone to find out if they just have Adult ADD since it is something adults rarely get diagnosed for even though they should. Children on the other hand get misdiagnosed like crazy and I would always be skeptical about putting any child on any major medication like this.

I used to always procrastinate and wait until the last minute. There would be times where I was just holding something in my hand to realize it was no longer there and I would spend a half an hour looking for it. It has also enabled me to type, talk, and read better since my mind is no longer racing through. There would be times reading where I would go through a full chapter and not remember a single thing from it. Typing was a pain if in a rush because I would be thinking everything in my head, but my fingers would completely skip words. Also I no longer transpose words (that's a pain in the ass) when reading or see a completely different word than what is actually written.

#10 Posted by Trainer_Red (314 posts) -

When I get bored or or lose interest, I just show my balls to my turtle and afterwards i'm fully motivated again.

#11 Posted by themangalist (1735 posts) -

I put giantbomb on blacklist and start microsoft word. Start bullshiting. And then you start getting the hang of it and the music starts getting distracting. That's when you're ready to roll.

#12 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
#13 Posted by TyCobb (1972 posts) -
#14 Posted by JasonR86 (9710 posts) -

The things I usually do is realize how bad I'll feel if I don't finish whatever it is I'm trying to do and that whatever it is that is keeping me from my work will be there when my work is done.

#15 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4352 posts) -

"You can always live on the street without a job and/or education." That's what works for me.

#16 Posted by zoozilla (979 posts) -

@TheVideoHustler said:

I've always wondered if it's just a thing you're born with. The ability to do work when it needs to be done. Or if it is a result of upbringing.

Regardless, sorry duder. I don't know how to help you.

I've actually wondered if the ability to focus can be altered in the developmental stage of our lives. They say that you're not supposed to let kids under two years old watch TV - maybe the fast, frenetic nature of most shows could actually reduce a child's ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.

In any case, if I ever have a kid, I'm gonna get him into meditation or something so he'll be a super-productive working machine.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I find that music always distracts me, but I think I'll try 's full-screen trick.

#17 Posted by NegativeCero (3003 posts) -

I still struggle with this too. I guess my biggest motivator is the feeling you get from doing something well.

#18 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@zoozilla said:

I've always been really bad at getting things done - only the things that are really vital actually get finished, and only at the very last minute, when I can procrastinate no longer.

This week in particular I've been really bad. I have to write three essays for three separate classes by next week Monday, and I have not started work on any of them. I just can't seem to start - I'll sit at my computer with the intent to work, and inevitably spend inordinate amounts of time browsing sites and reading forums.

Do you guys have any "tricks" to get yourself working, even when you really don't want to?

GET BACK TO YOUR FUCKING ESSAY!

I put on headphones and listen to the Bombcast each week to get all my housework done, get those essays done life really sucks when you have no education.

#19 Edited by LikeaSsur (1532 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@LikeaSsur said:

Here you go, : Conditioning at its finest.

What if your professor gives you a page count?

Assuming you're a diligent student who doesn't try to cut corners and properly cites, quotes, and follows the format of a good paper, page count shouldn't matter. Let the words flow, the pages will come naturally.

Also, notice how I referenced conditioning. Use this website long enough, and you won't even need pictures of adorable kittens to write a paper.

#20 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5828 posts) -

I think about how much more stressed I will be in a week if I don't do any work at all. That usually helps me put things in perspective.

that being said, essays are almost always a pain in the ass. I'd rather do problem sets and the like.

#21 Posted by loyalroyal1989 (44 posts) -

My motivation is actually games I want to play them so I work hard to get the money to get them and spare time to play them.

Its like helpful crack i need my fix but the solution is to do work so its all good in the hood.

#22 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@LikeaSsur:

I don't know. Sometimes, you could use a few widows and orphans to pad out your paper.

#23 Posted by billyhoush (1192 posts) -

Fresh Pots.

#24 Posted by Nekromantix87 (41 posts) -

I usually resort to isolating myself from distractions. In my case, leaving my room, where my computer, 360, and PS3 are, and going to the dining room where there's nothing but a table. From there, it's just a matter of making a pot of coffee and starting my motivational music playlist on my mp3 player (Suicide Mission from the ME2 OST is a must IMO.)

For me, if work needs to be done, I've got not chance if I'm in my room. I'm not going to do anything productive if I'm there eight times out of ten. Though I think I may be in the minority in that I usually write the majority of an essay on paper before going near a computer.

#25 Posted by OtakuGamer (1237 posts) -

I wouldn't be here if I knew.

#26 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

@LikeaSsur said:

Here you go, : Conditioning at its finest.

God damn it, now I'm just going to sit hit typing "cats cats cats cats..." for the next hour.

#27 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3154 posts) -

Tell myself shit needs done.

#28 Posted by soul101 (105 posts) -

I had the same problem my entire childhood (and teenage...hood?) and all I can suggest is.....

Find something you enjoy doing, I was in university, enrolled in computer science, super excited to be educated in my field of choice......and then I got there. I couldn't focus on my classes no matter what I did, they were boring and unfulfilling. I realized if I had to sit at a desk for the rest of my life, it wasn't much of a life at all (speaking for myself). I started procrastinating things I didn't really feel strongly about, and I started caring about things that were providing me with happiness, namely the job I had to take so I could be so miserable at school. I was working at a restaurant as a cook at the time and was enjoying it, so much so that I left school to pursue a job in the culinary field. True, quitting school might not be the path all people should take and I've been very fortunate in the breaks I've had in my chosen industry, however people tend to place far too much emphasis on the status quo, and traditional success. Find what you love to do and do it.

Unless you're still in high school, and if so........DO YOUR FUCKING WORK, you can make your own decisions as soon as you're out of the house! (WITH A DIPLOMA!)

#29 Edited by GalacticGravy (548 posts) -

Personally, buying a small whiteboard was the best thing for me. When I was in college, I would write exactly what needed to get done and by when. Having it right next to my monitor didn't let me forget it. Organizing it is really important. It helps you take it one step at a time, and it makes it easy to set goals. Eventually I got to a point where I didn't want to...well..."disappoint" the whiteboard. I still use it to this day to keep my tasks in check.

*Edit*

Also, depending on your field, school work is the worst anyway. The current state of our schooling (up to and especially including college) is almost wholly a scam. Unless you are a math-related, law, or med student almost 100% of your work will seem totally worthless. Most of it is. When you get out of school things get better. Your work becomes a direct reflection of you as a person and you take more ownership of it and it becomes much easier to begin. Realistically speaking, getting a C- on a paper means nothing. Really. But handing in sub-par work at the job you need to live? It means a lot. Also, if you work freelance or do personal projects (as I do with my cover critique site) the energy to get off your ass and do work is much easier to come by. Don't worry, man. After school, when you leave your glorified day-care center and become a real human being, it gets better.

#30 Posted by thedj93 (1237 posts) -

soft drugs. or drug, really.

oh and music!

#31 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

It's hard to care about your school work sometimes. Page counts in particular stress me out to the point to where I don't even want to start. What I do to help me at least have a starting point when writing a paper is by creating an outline with all my thoughts and ideas on it. Then I just simply go into further detail on whatever it is I put in the outline.

#32 Posted by me3639 (1760 posts) -

I dont ever want to rely on anyone to take care of me, or pay my way through life. That's my motivation.

#33 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -
#34 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

It's either work or not get paid and get kicked and miss paying bills and having to move out to something cheaper than a big house.  
So that's my motivation.

#35 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

well i just generally say if i get it done now then i can be done with it. i just push myself to do the work.

i tended to drink when i did essasy as they seemed like i can write more.

#36 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

A few cans of Rockstar Punched (or NOS) and some music will sometimes do the trick...Or get me all energized enough to distract myself further by watching YouTube / Giant Bomb.

#37 Posted by EVO (3913 posts) -

Remove whatever it is that is causing you to procrastinate. Get away from your PC and pick up a pen & paper.

#38 Posted by MikkaQ (10293 posts) -

I mostly think of how much money university costs and that tends to motivate me. That's a ridiculous amount of money to go to waste.

#39 Posted by Sayishere (1840 posts) -

Well I always found last mintue essays to always come our better than ones I've prepared for. Exams on the other hand is a different story.

#40 Posted by myketuna (1701 posts) -

@Scrawnto said:

Poorly. But seriously, I'll put on an album and then tell myself "I'll just take a look at it and maybe do one or two things," and then a few hours pass and I realize no sound has been coming from my headphones for most of that. I have to sort of "get into the zone," to use a crappy cliche. It's not really something I can control, so my productivity goes in spurts.

I have a similar thing. I actually have to do something tomorrow. Usually, I'll do something fairly easy that I know I can do if I just up and do it and then try to use that productivity boost to lead me into doing the harder, more involved thing and get me into the zone. Once I'm kind of knee deep into the hard thing, I'll find it interesting and won't stop working until I've "solved" it, much like playing a video game I think is fun.

But, yeah that initial start up time. I'm sort of like my shitty lawn mower, it takes a long time and many shitty pulls, but once it gets going, it gets the job done real well.