Stop procrastinating and start learning!



My name is Emma, and I have a question for you.

I want you to imagine this.

Imagine you have a big English test that's going to happen very soon.

What do you do?

Okay? And I want you to be honest.

Do you open up your book and study right away, and every day study for your test?

Do you think about your test, feel a little bit sad and maybe go on Facebook?

Do you, instead of studying, text your friends?

Or do you think about studying, but instead just watch TV?

Okay, a lot of students will say that they open up their book and study, but in reality

a lot of people don't do this.

A lot of people before tests or presentations or work get really, really nervous, and they

do something different. Okay?

They don't want to do the studying, they don't want to do the hard work, they're really afraid

to do it so instead they do something like go on Facebook, call their friends, go to the mall.


These are all examples, two, three, and four that is...

These three are examples of procrastination.


So, "procrastination" is maybe a new word for you, but it's a very, very important word

if you are a student or, you know, even if you work.

It's actually an important word for everybody because most people procrastinate.

So what does procrastination mean?

Well, it's when you have something you have to do, but instead of doing what you have

to do, you do something else that's more fun, and you keep thinking:

"I'll come back to this", but you're very busy with these other things.

So let's look at some examples of the word procrastination.

We have it as a verb, an action: "I am procrastinating."

Because I'm not studying, I'm on Facebook, I'm procrastinating.

"I'm not studying. I procrastinate a lot."

Here we have another verb form. Okay?

"I procrastinate a lot", which means: I don't study, I don't do my English homework; instead,

I spend a lot of time texting my friends and doing anything but English.

I can also use it as a noun: "My procrastination is really bad."


My procrastination is bad.

I have a problem with procrastination.

So this means I have a problem getting stuff done because I don't really want to do it,

I'd rather focus on doing Facebook or something else.

Or we can also have it as a noun to say what we are.

"I'm a procrastinator."

A procrastinator is a person.

Okay? So I'm a teacher, that's a person.

When I was in university sometimes I was a procrastinator.

This means before any big test or presentation I'd start working on it, and then I'd do something

else because I'm a procrastinator.

Okay? So let's...

We're going to talk about why people procrastinate, and then we're going to talk about

how to fight procrastination. Okay?

Because it's something we all need to fight.

Okay, so why do people procrastinate?

That's a very good question.


So, different people procrastinate for different reasons, but usually a lot of the times people

have the same reasons for procrastinating.

People procrastinate when they think something is difficult.


So for me I find math difficult, so when I used to do math I would procrastinate and

I would do something else like, you know, make a sandwich or clean my room even because

the math seemed so difficult to me, anything was better than doing the math.

So I would always get distracted.

A lot of people find English grammar difficult, and when they're studying grammar a lot of

the times they procrastinate, they text their friends or they, you know, do anything but grammar.


A lot of people procrastinate when something is boring.

They don't want to do it because it's...

You know, they want to do something interesting.

People procrastinate when something is a lot of work.

Okay? And they know it's a lot of work, so they look at the task and it's just too much, so

then they want to feel good, so they do something else.

A lot of people also procrastinate just because they're scared or they're afraid.

They want to do something well, and they don't think that they can so it well, so you know...

Or, you know, they're worried about making mistakes, so a lot of the times people procrastinate

because of fear.

People procrastinate because of stress.

You know, they have stressful jobs, they have all these stressful things going on, so they

just want to relax.

They don't want to do things that cause stress.

Because if you think about it, you want to be doing something, you know, that makes you feel happy.

For a lot of these things because they don't make you feel happy you don't want to do them,

and that's why people procrastinate.

But you'll actually find that usually the thing that you have to do isn't that bad.

It's actually your mind and the way you think about things that make it seem very bad and

very scary, but a lot of the times actually it's just once you start it's a lot easier.

So let's look at some ways to fight procrastination, because almost everybody procrastinates and

there are some really good ways to stop procrastinating.

So, I want you to think about something in your life right now, something that you have

to do but you don't really want to do it, and you keep procrastinating.

Maybe you have to write an English essay, maybe you have a test coming up, or a big

presentation, or a job interview. Okay?

It can be so many different things.

Maybe you actually just hate cleaning the dishes, you hate washing the dishes and you

have a sink filled with them.

So these are things we can procrastinate about.

For me, I have a big presentation in two weeks-oh no!-and I have to get started on it.

So I've been procrastinating, so now I'm going to use some of these tips to fight procrastination. Okay?

So, to get started with our fight against procrastination,

I want you to look at this as three parts.

We need to fight procrastination before we start our task or our activity.

So, for example, if you're studying for a test, you need to start the fight before you start studying.

We also need to fight procrastination while we're studying or, you know, working on our

presentation or whatever, and there's things we can do after we finish our task.

Okay? So there's three stages to this and we'll go over each one.

So, before you start what you're procrastinating on, before you start the work you have to

do, the difficult, scary work, there's a couple of things you can do so you don't feel so

scared or, you know, so you're not so worried about what you have to do.

First of all, this is probably one of the most important tips: You need to give yourself time to accomplish things.

People always underestimate how long something takes.


So a lot of people, they think: "Oh, I have a test.

I'll study the night before.

You know, it's okay, I'll learn everything. It doesn't take me a lot of time."

You really do need time to learn.

Learning takes time. Okay?

It's actually better to do a little bit every day, than to do everything the night before,

especially for learning a language, you learn more by doing a little bit every day than

all at the same time.

So give yourself time to finish what you need to do.

No cramming, which means don't do everything right before it's due because you're going

to have so much stress and you're not going to be able to do things as well.

So give yourself time.

Set up a schedule. Okay?

So if you're studying, what days are you going to study on?

How long will you study each day?

Maybe you'll just do 20 minutes a day, maybe 30 minutes a day, maybe an hour a day, but

it's good to set up a schedule.

So Monday I do this much time, Tuesday this much, Wednesday this much, etc.

Again, if you're learning a language or you have a test coming up, a little bit each day

is the way to go.

Okay? You remember a lot more by doing this.

So plan for to do a little bit every day for tests.

At night, the night before you start your task...

So, for example, imagine I want to study on Monday - Sunday night what I'm going to do

is I'm going to come up with a list and I'm going to think about:

What do I need to do for Monday?


The reason it's good to come up with a to-do list at night is right before bed if you make

your to-do list while you're sleeping your brain is doing a lot of work, and your brain

is actually going to start working on some of these things you need to get done and it's

going to prepare you for it.

So it's really, really good to make your to-do list the night before so your brain is ready

to go the next day when you actually have to do the task.


I actually found this one to be a very interesting tip because I never knew that, but when I

started learning about procrastination I found that that can really help you with your procrastination.

Another thing that's very important to do the night before is to decide:

What time will you start and what time will you finish?

A lot of people just decide on what time they will start at.

"I'm going to start studying at 1pm."

And then they have the whole day and there's no finish time, so you know what this does?

It makes studying look terrible because it just seems like something that's just going

to go on forever, and then that's why they get so distracted because you don't have a finish time.

Okay? So you have no idea of when the pain of studying is going to finish.

It's a lot better to decide a finish time, and once you finish, relax.

Give yourself a break.

You don't have to worry about what you were working on.

Okay? So have a start time and a finish time.

Now let's look at some more tips.

Okay, so we just have a couple more things you can do before you start.

Actually before you start I have the most tips because I think getting yourself ready

and your brain in the right mindset can really help you stop procrastination.

So my next tip is: Think about when will be a good time to work on what you need to do.

For different people times can be different.

Some people love doing things really late at night, some people like doing things in the morning.

It's also good to think about: When will you be the least distracted?

If your favourite TV show comes on at 4 o'clock, 4 o'clock is probably not a good time to study

or work on your presentation because you're going to want to watch the TV show.


So think about when is a time where there's not a lot of distractions and when you feel

comfortable getting a lot of work done.

Another example of this is think about with food.

For me, whenever I eat lunch right after I feel kind of tired, so for me, putting a huge

project to do after lunch, I'm not going to want to do it.

I'm going to feel, you know, too tired to do it.

Whereas for me, doing things in the morning, I tend to get the most done in the morning.

So know yourself and know what is a good time for you.

Another good idea is a lot of students have these big goals.

"I want to learn English", "I want to learn, you know, the present perfect", you know,

they have a lot of goals, and thinking about the big goal is good, but if you think too

much on it, it can become very stressful because you think about:

"Oh my god, I have so much work to do."

It's actually better to take the big goal and put it into smaller goals.

Okay? So, for example, imagine my big goal is: I will learn the present perfect.

Okay? This is what I want to do.

I need to learn the present perfect.

This is a good goal, but it's nicer if you put it into smaller goals.

A smaller goal might be: "I will study the present perfect for 20 minutes."


This goal, then you can look and you can think: "Did I study the present perfect for 20 minutes?

Yes I did."

Okay? So you can be more accountable for your goals, and it's actually better to focus on time

than on product. Okay?

So what do I mean by that?

Well, in this case I'm saying: "I will study the present perfect for 20 minutes."

If you can think about an amount of time you want to spend on something-usually 20 or 25

minutes is really good-it will help you get over your procrastination.

Focus on how long something's...

How long you can work on something.

Usually it's less scary and difficult if you just think: "Okay, I'll spend 20 minutes on this."

And if you spend more, great, but, you know, just having an amount of time can really be

less stressful than thinking: "I have to learn the present perfect."

Okay? Which would be the product.

So focus on time, how long something takes, and you know, how much time you're going to

spend on it, versus you know, focusing on the product at the end.

All right, now let's look at some more tips.

Okay, so now, you know, you're actually ready to begin what you need to do.


So this is how we stop procrastination.

The first rule is the most important: You need to remove distractions.

So what's a distraction?

A distraction is something that's going to take your attention away from what you're doing.

So, for example, Facebook is a big distraction.

Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, you know, all sorts of different things.

Netflix, movies, TV, your cellphone.

If you have friends who are constantly messaging you, that's a big distraction. Okay?

It might even be something, like, in your house.

Maybe your mom vacuums, that's a big distraction if you're trying to get some work done.

Or maybe, you know...

It can be all sorts of different things.

Maybe your roommate is very loud and has a lot of friends over, that can be a distraction.

So what you need to do is you need to find a place that is quiet where you won't lose your focus.

And again, number one thing: Turn off your cellphone.

I would not even bring my cellphone to where I'm going because I know the distraction to

want to turn it on and look at it is too much for me.

So I won't even bring it if I'm studying or working on a presentation.

Okay? So know what your distractions are, and make sure you get rid of them, you put them away

before you start.

It's also important to remember that getting started is actually the hardest part.

A lot of the times when we procrastinate it's because we're afraid.

We have a lot of fear or we think something's really hard, but usually getting started is

the hardest part.

So keep that in mind.

I'm a big fan of the Nike expression: "Just do it."

I think this is a really good expression for when we're talking about getting something done.

We have all these thoughts in our mind: "Oh, I'd rather do this.

I don't know, it's so hard."

Just tell your brain to be quiet and just do it.


That's what this means.

Just start on what you need to get done.

So, one thing you can do is if it's really hard and you're really, you know, not in the

mood to do something, give it five minutes because usually if you just tell yourself:

"I'm going to just do this for five minutes", usually that's what you need to get started.

Okay? So usually you'll actually go a lot farther than five minutes, but just give yourself

five minutes and see if, you know, maybe that will be enough to get you started.

You can also try the 25-minute technique.

For most people 25 minutes is bearable, it's something you can do.

So what I like to do, I have here my alarm clock or my timer and I will set this for

25 minutes, and then I start working on what I have to do, and then after 25 minutes this rings.

Instead of focusing on what I have to get done, again, focusing on time:

"I'm going to work on this for 25 minutes", is very helpful for getting over procrastination.

Another important tip is: Know yourself, and know about secret distractions.

Okay? We talked about Facebook, we talked about Instagram, we talked about your friends text

messaging you - those are the obvious distractions, but there are also secret distractions.

What are some of these secret distractions?

Well maybe you're in your room and it's messy.

So while you're trying to get to work, you think: "Oh, wow, my room's really messy right now, I need to clean it right away."

Or you have dishes in the sink: "Oh, you know what?

Before I start I'm going to do these dishes."

These things that seem like they're good to do are really just distractions, too.

So be careful of the secret distractions. Okay?

You know what you need to get done, focus on that.

Different people have different techniques in terms of what to start with.

Some people like to start with the hardest part.


Because that way, once you get started on that, you know, you know everything's going

to be a bit easier.

Other people like to actually do the thing that's going to take the least amount of time,

so they choose the thing they can do the fastest.

The nice thing about this is if you start with the fastest thing then it usually gets

you in the mood to do more work.

So, you know, test them both out, see what works for you because different people are different.

So you can start with the hardest thing or the thing that will be the fastest to do.

So, after you finish...

After you've done all this and you've been working and you've finished what you're doing,

and you know, again, you have a lot of time, you do a little bit every day, it's very,

very important to reward yourself.

Do something nice for yourself to tell yourself: "You know what?

I did a lot of work today, I worked on, you know, IELTS for 25 minutes.

I worked on my presentation for half an hour", it's a really good thing to reward yourself

because then you'll have positive experiences with these things and it'll be easier to start

the next time because it's not going to seem so bad, and you know that there's something

good at the end of it.

Another tip I would say for after you finish, think about what you just did.

Think about what made you maybe procrastinate.

What were your triggers?

What caused you to procrastinate?

Is it the work was too hard?

Was it scary?

Think about: Was it really that bad?

Or were you way more scared before you began than while you were actually doing it?

Maybe, you know, you were distracted this time, so maybe you can write down:

What was that distraction, and how can you stop those distractions in the future?

Each time we do something it's not going to be perfect, so sometimes you may have a better

time fighting procrastination, other times maybe you're not so successful.

But the key here is these tips will really, really help you be successful more often.


So, I hope you've enjoyed this video.

I think there are a lot of very important tips here that can really, really help you

with your English-language learning because one of the most difficult things with learning

a language is getting distracted and procrastinating because we feel, you know, bad when we don't

know how to say something or when the work is hard.

So you can do it.

You can totally do it.

Follow these tips, and they will really, really help you with your English-language learning

or whatever projects you're doing.

I hope you subscribe to my YouTube channel.

I have a lot of great resources there.

Although, if you have something important to do, I don't want you to procrastinate by watching me.

You know, but if you're learning English this is something you can do.

So, subscribe to my channel and also I invite you to visit our website at

There, you can actually do a quiz and practice all of the tips you learned today,

along with your English.

Until next time, thank you for watching and take care.

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