Stop procrastinating with the STING method

Can a simple five-letter mnemonic device help you stop procrastinating? Many productivity experts would agree that a great way to stop procrastinating is by applying the STING method. The letters in STING stand for the following:

  • SPick a task you’ve been putting off.
  • youlove yourself.
  • Yoignore everything else around you.
  • NOor breaks allowed.
  • GRAMGive yourself a reward when you finish the task.

Select a task you’ve been putting off

Many people procrastinate simply because they have so much to do that they don’t know where to start. The first step in the STING method is to select just one of the tasks that you have been putting off. You can decide to choose a small task to feel the satisfaction of checking something off your to-do list, or you can choose a larger task, break it down into small parts, and start with the first small part.

Your time

You are going to give yourself a specific amount of time to work on the task. I like to work for twenty-five minutes and then take a five-minute break. If the task is likely to take more than twenty-five minutes, then I repeat this process of working for twenty-five minutes and then taking a five-minute break three times. Other people prefer to work for forty minutes without a break, while others may work for a whole hour. Choose the time period that best suits your needs.

Get a kitchen timer or use an online app to time yourself while doing homework. Once you’re ready to start working on the task you’ve selected, start the timer. Try to get as much homework done as you can before the timer goes off and time is up.

Ignore everything else around you

During the time that you are going to be working on the task you have selected, you are going to ignore everything around you. Be sure to turn off your Twitter and email applications, let the phone go to voicemail if it rings, and close any sites you may have open on your computer that aren’t directly related to the task you’re working on. If someone comes into your office while you’re working, ask them to come back later.

no breaks allowed

Make sure you go to the bathroom before you start, and have a glass of water on the desk next to you, because you can’t take any breaks during the time you’ve allotted to work on the task at hand. If you think of something else that needs to be done while you’re working on the assignment, like making a phone call, just write it down so you can do it later. You can take a break once the time is up.

Give yourself a reward when you finish the task

A great way to stay motivated while working on a task is to have a small reward to look forward to once you are done with the task. This can be as simple as turning on your favorite music and sitting in your chair for a few minutes, or having a cappuccino or some other drink you like. Remember that what gets rewarded gets done.


As you can see from the explanation above, STING is a very simple method. However, if you go ahead and give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised at how effective it is. As Rita Emmett, author of “The Procrastinator’s Handbook,” likes to say, this method will take the sting out of procrastination.

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