Checklist your way out of summer procrastination
Lifestyle Editor Katie Edgar discusses how to motivate yourself to do the things you love when you can’t stop procrastinating.
Every summer is always the same story for me. With so many months of free time stretching out ahead of me, I tell myself I’ll get loads of things done and have a brilliant time, but in reality I always end up thinking, ‘I’ll do something tomorrow; today I just want to relax.’ And thus the cycle of procrastination begins. I don’t know why I do it – why am I procrastinating on doing something I enjoy? – but it happens every year, without fail.
This year is somewhat different. I’ve still had many days of lying around the house, scrolling mindlessly through my phone, but I have also found ways to motivate myself to do things – occasionally. It started with two of my housemates creating bucket lists of things they wanted to do this summer. Eventually, they realised that many of their goals were shared, and they decided to create one list of activities that they would both try and accomplish. This then evolved into a bucket list that my whole house is now competing to achieve, with the winner promised a free Deliveroo when we reunite in September, and the loser having to pay for that Deliveroo. I’ve always found checklists to be a good motivator, and, combined with the threat of having to pay for someone else’s food on a student budget, this bucket list has inspired me to actually get things done this summer.
I’ve always found checklists to be a good motivator, and, combined with the threat of having to pay for someone else’s food on a student budget, this bucket list has inspired me to actually get things done this summer.
The list contains a variety of different activities, ranging from easy (play mini golf) to more difficult (visit a national park) to basically impossible to plan for (meet a celebrity), but it’s been really fun to try and achieve. There are things on the list that I’ve wanted to do for many years but have never bothered to attempt with any real effort. One example is exercising more. I always try for a bit, get bored, and eventually stop, but with ‘run 5K’ at the top of the list, I’ve found myself dutifully following the regimen of Couch to 5K, partly because I love how I can feel myself getting fitter each week, but also because I love chasing down the high of ticking things off the list.
‘Learn a new skill’ is another great one because it’s pushing me to try the things I’ve always thought would be cool to be able to do, but have never attempted, such as learning sewing and origami. Another bonus activity is that we need photographic evidence of us completing everything on the list, and I have decided to use my pictures to create the ugliest power point you have ever seen but that my ten-year-old self would be proud of – think lurid colours, flashy transitions and lots of Comic Sans.
Motivating yourself to do something when it seems like you have eons of free time to do it can be difficult. So if, like me, you’ve been struggling, I recommend a list. It helps you keep track of the things you’ve done, gives you a hit of dopamine when you’re able to tick something off, and can be a fun thing to do with your friends or housemates over the summer months. Plus, maybe it’ll help you finally get round to doing the things you keep putting off.