Focus, Procrastination, Procrastination and Writing

Knowing When to Stop

This page provides a handy top-ten list for busting procrastination. Some of them are obvious — avoid TV, internet, telephone. Some are so obvious that they are impossible not to include (but often strangely easy to forget) — ie. get right to work! My favourite on the list: avoid doing extra research. How often do I talk to students who simply don’t know when to stop researching? Everything seems important and relevant. And sometimes, really, really interesting.

Research is a tricky thing in relation to procrastination, because it feels like you’re getting stuff done. But that “extra” research is actually making it harder for you to finish the project.

It’s essential to have some sense of what it is you’re trying to do (see #5 – Stay focused). In other words, if you’re writing a paper, have some sense of what it is you’re trying to argue. A working thesis, or research question, can make a huge difference. Then you can be always asking yourself this question: “Is this research actually helping me advance my thesis/answer my question?”