Perhaps you've decided to take an online course, but found yourself browsing Facebook, or playing a game on your phone after only a few minutes of studying! This problem in psychology is known as procrastination and refers to the act of postponing doing difficult tasks and doing something less important instead. This problem happens due to the brain's need to save its energy; often delaying doing difficult things in which the brain is expected to do a lot of work.
That's why we wrote this short article, which will not take much of time or effort to read, so you will not postpone reading it. In this article, we've included four quick methods to help you overcome procrastination in 3 seconds, 20 seconds, 2 minutes, or 25 minutes at most.
The 20-Second Rule
Simply put, the human brain operates based on a set of habits, and each habit follows a connected loop driven by a positive or negative trigger. The Rule is simple, make it easier to start a positive habit by 20 seconds and make it harder to perform a negative habit by 20 seconds.
Example: Make the course page you want to study the default page in your browser, or download the application on your phone for easier access. You can also delete the Facebook app to minimize distractions, It will probably take up to 20 seconds to download again anyway. This way, you’ll save your mental energy and spend more time studying.
The 3-Second Rule
When thinking about doing a new task, for example, taking an online course, take action within the first three seconds.
List all the small tasks required to achieve your goal: I will enroll in the course, allocate time to study it, participate in discussion forums twice a week, focus during lectures, etc. Then complete the first step; enroll in the course.
Be Optimistic: There is no doubt that each task has some negative aspects and obstacles. In this particular case, it could be low internet speed, the lack of time to study, poor social conditions, distractions, etc. But Instead of focusing on the obstacles, we encourage you to list the most important positive aspects of doing this task. For example, I will be able to achieve (desired outcome) after studying the course, I will add a new accomplishment to my life, I will meet new people and expand my network, I will enhance my knowledge, etc.
The 2-Minute Rule
The goal is to make it easier for you to get started on the things you should be doing, but how? If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, then follow the Rule and do it right now. For example, does logging in to the course take less than two minutes? Do it now! Does it take less than two minutes to read a post on the discussion forum? Do it now! Does it take less than two minutes to solve one of the tests? Do it now! Obviously, the course takes more than two minutes to complete, but the important thing here is to start, just starting something that will help you finish it!
The 25-Minute Rule
You don’t need to study all the time, you have to rest sometimes! Use a timer to break down your work into 25-minute long sessions, separated by short breaks. Set your alarm clock to 25 minutes, remove any distractions using the 20-second Rule, then start studying for 25 minutes and take a short break after. Don’t forget to reward yourself for completing your session. Then focus again for 25 minutes, and then relax a bit! Let your goal and focus be on finishing the 25 minutes, regardless of your performance! You will be surprised at the results you can achieve in these minutes.
Note: The Arabic version of this article first appeared on Edraak’s blog here. It was translated and republished with permission from Edraak