Remember when you were a child and there was a special good-night ritual made up by your parents? That pleasurable sequence, where you brushed your teeth, listened to a bedtime story and got a kiss on your forehead, was created to make it easier for you to fall asleep.
And boy did it work. The days of good-night rituals might be gone forever, but the time of everyday problems that could be solved by rituals is not. And one of the most annoying problems we face with daily is our own procrastination. People have been looking for an ultimate antidote for procrastination since the invention of the term.
The Internet (which can be named an ultimate cause for procrastination in way too many cases) offers a whole pile of separate and utterly useless advices. We all know that it would be perfect to delete all our social media accounts and concentrate on a single task at a time, but what is the use of this knowledge?
What can actually help is a personal ritual that will help you to fight procrastination and get rid of its consequences in your life. Here is a simple scheme:
1. Choose a positive trigger
Use your reflexes, not your conscience. Logical self-persuasion is totally useless when it comes to procrastination. There are some smells that make you feel hungry, there are some movie associations that make your mood go up and down, so try and find something that makes you feel like working on a subconscious level (intimidation of an approaching deadlines does not count).
Get back to the memories of your childhood - was there a certain action/smell/location/taste that was prior to the immediate beginning of the studying process? Use it or find something in your life that usually comes along with the working process, and ensure its presence by your side when you aim for completing a task. When rational things don't work, it is irrational stuff that comes in handy.
2. Find a competitor.
Positive motivation on all levels cannot be underestimated (if anything, at least because it's easier to apply it to yourself than a strict system of penalties). However, some people are simply unable to do something for the sake of their own good.
Of course, if you are one of those people, you could spend countless hours trying to get rid of the habit to compare yourself to the others... or you could make use of what could be your weakness.
Find yourself someone you could compete with and stop fighting procrastination for your own sake. Fight it because he does. Just don't get carried away in your competition - especially if the person you chose doesn't even know that you two compete.
3. Define instant reward
So, let's say you've found yourself a positive trigger and a competitor (which allows to turn a boring task into something like a game). However, the mere mechanism of the procrastination exists because your mind chooses instant pleasure instead of indefinite reward somewhere in the future.
That's why no matter what your ritual looks like you should end it with an instant reward - in the middle or at the end of the working process. Just don't get distracted by it too much. And no, free time and relaxation don't count as a reward, be more materialistic.
After you fulfilled three steps mentioned above, build up a short sequence of actions your ritual will consist of. For example, get a cup of coffee, look at the photo of your competitor with a note "He accomplished this task yesterday" and start working, bearing in mind that you will rent a favorite movie if you end your task on time.
Just don't make the ritual longer than the working process itself and never give yourself instant reward out of pity when you actually slip up and procrastinate. Be strong.