Self-Prompting Routines to Reduce Procrastination

Charles Emmrys PhD


Self-prompting is the practice of moving mentally from a rest or activity mode to a study work mode. The nervous system always takes a bit of time to actually make this kind of switch and for people that suffer from anxiety or fatigue; the switching process can be particularly difficult. To help it along, the following prompting routines can be very helpful.


The Routine

  1. As soon as you come home from school or a half hour before you are to sit down to study, set up your work space by clearing it of all materials except those and only those you will use for your study session (books, writing materials etc.). Take time to set up the work as completely as possible including opening the book to the page you will be reading, turning on your computer to the screen you will be using etc.
  2. Walk away and either have something to eat or do something else that is enjoyable and not work related for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. Return to the desk and sit in front of your materials.
  4. Take three abdominal breaths to relax and stretch your arms to loosen up your shoulders.
  5. Sit still and organize the next thing to do in your mind.
  6. Sit and don’t move until you start work.
  7. Work for 45 minutes, stretch take a three minute break and work another 45 minutes.

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