“Just one more episode…”
“I’m one minute passed the time I said I would start, so I’ll just stay on Facebook…”
“She just messaged me! I have to answer now!”
All of us have either said or thought all of the above statements, and all of us have been affected by procrastination. Even as I write this article, I still think to myself: I should be studying. Nonetheless, I have found tactics that aid me in my journey to defeat the evil that is procrastination (was that a little too dramatic?), and hope that these tips can help you, too!
1. Outline what work needs to be completed.
Just telling yourself “I have English due Thursday and a Geography test Friday” isn’t going to get you anywhere. Start off by writing down by what classes actually have assignments due for them. Write down that you have that English assignment and that Geography test, but also write down what needs to be completed for them. Maybe you have more to do for English than you thought, or maybe you actually know most of the material for your test, so you won’t need to review certain material as much. Actually looking at and organizing what needs to be completed will help you in the long run, and will act as a guideline for what you have finished or have already finished.
This is one of the most important steps, by far! Let’s use the hypothetical English assignment and Geography test as examples again. If you already know and understand most of the material for your test, then don’t work on that first. Instead, dedicate time to your English assignment, which will take longer. For this step, look at what has the most “work” involved (i.e. what task is the most incomplete), and then what is due first. In this case, the English assignment appears first on the calendar before the Geography test. Knowing this makes prioritizing your time so much easier and will help you finish your work faster.
3. Set goals.
How much do you want to complete by the end of the day? Do you hope to finish a certain amount of work within the hour? Will you really finish all of that? Asking yourself these questions, and similar ones, can help you in prioritizing what needs to be completed right away versus what you might be able to finish. I usually write down what needs to be done that day, what would be good to finish (i.e. finishing it sooner will help me out in the long run), and then I hold myself to working on those tasks in 20 minute segments.
4. Actually do the work.
I find that I work best in 20 minute segments, so that’s why I mentioned this time frame in the previous step. I tend to get distracted easily, so working for a short amount of time keeps me focused and I end up completing more work than if I were to allot a whole hour to a certain task. For this step, find the time frame that works for you and then get yourself in the headspace to be focused for that time frame. If you know you won’t be able to stay focused without any motivation, I suggest using the app Forest Focus! The longer you study, the larger your little bush or tree grows, and if you go on your phone during that time, your plant dies. You can also install the Google Chrome extension for it! I love it because you are rewarded at the end with coins that you can use to ‘buy’ other plants, as well. It also has achievements that you can work towards. Regardless, find what work for you and stick to it!
5. Reaping the rewards/taking breaks.
I decided to put these two topics in one heading because they correlate slightly. At the end of your journey with schoolwork — or any work — you will finally be able to relax. Furthermore, you will appreciate the time and effort that you have put into your tasks. As a side note, though you may be working diligently, or a certain assignment may be due the next day, make sure to give yourself short breaks or else you will crash and burn very quickly. If you want to take breaks, but aren’t sure what the best way would be, check out this masterpost!
I hope that these tips on how to tackle procrastination help you or have inspired you to find what matches your needs best! Good luck, have fun, and reap the rewards!
Featured image source: gillianlant