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22 tips to avoid procrastination

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Published 2013-02-20T08:00:00Z”/>


What you wish you had done when cramming at 3 a.m.Nicole D’Souza

It is 11 p.m. the night before a big paper is due, and you’ve been too busy to work on it.

You sit at your laptop. Your hands are poised above the keyboard, ready to type — but the words won’t come. You stare at a blank document, stealing occasional glances at the time. Slowly, you begin to peck away at the keyboard, typing into the sad, early hours of morning.

College life, ironically, doesn’t give you much time to spend worrying about papers.

Experienced procrastinators, this is not the time to search Google for tips on time management, procrastination and preparation.

This is the time for action.

Here are some common and not-so-common tips to help beat procrastination, compiled with help from Christine Connerly, the program coordinator at the Student Learning Center.

Change your habits

• Think about the last time you procrastinated and find out where you went wrong. What distracted you?

• Get organized. Buy a paper calendar or use free calendar software such as Get Organized, Google Calendar or Mozilla Sunbird. Record every assignment so there’s no chance of losing valuable points just because you forgot to do your homework. Refer to your calendar daily. It will free your mind from having to keep track of everything mentally.

• If you find yourself drowning in assigned readings and papers, take some time to relax and then return to your work with a fresh mind. Prioritize the items in your calendar and work on what is most important first to get it out of the way.

• Set a specific day and time to study. If your history class has a one-chapter quiz every Tuesday, decide to study for the quiz every Sunday at 3 p.m. in order to make sure it happens. Stick to your plan – after a few weeks of success, you’ll start to feel guilty if you’re doing anything else at 3 p.m. Sundays.

• Habits don’t form overnight. If you fail, don’t beat yourself up. Resolve to do better next time.

Get motivated

• Grab a piece of paper and jot down all of the things that motivate you to work hard and do well.

• Make that motivation real. Remember how you feel when you get a good grade on a quiz, and compare that to how you feel when you don’t get a good grade. Envision yourself succeeding.

• Keep the list in sight as a reminder, especially when you are tempted to slack off.

• Think of your role models. Envision a friend who earns straight As and never misses a deadline. Ask him or her for advice. If they can manage it, surely you can too.

• In each of your classes, introduce yourself to students who do well. Try sitting next to them and challenge yourself to get grades better than theirs. A little academic competition will push you to strive harder.

• Find a study buddy. Teaching someone else will help your overall understanding of a concept.

• Embrace variety when studying. After spending time on something boring or less challenging, switch over to an assignment from a class you enjoy or to homework you find easy.

• Set time aside for fun, whether it’s spending time with friends or browsing Facebook or Twitter. Reward yourself. You are more likely to do something when you anticipate pleasure than when you are trying to avoid pain. Schedule fun time after every study session. It will give you something to look forward to.

Divide and conquer

• Break one task, like a long term paper, into more manageable mini-tasks. Start with the easier responsibility and then work your way up to more difficult work. Every task you complete will encourage you to continue.

• The term paper could be split up in terms of topic, sources, outline, rough draft and final draft. Give yourself the time to write one page a day and leave two free days, not including the paper’s due date. Implement this strategy for studying. One chapter a day, plus two free days.

If all else fails

• Trick yourself into studying. After you’ve divided an assignment into segments, tell yourself that you are only going to work on one at a time. After spending some time researching and reading sources for a term paper, it’s much more likely that you’ll feel like working on the paper.

• Similarly, decide that you will only study for 10 minutes, you are only going to gather the required materials or you will only look over your notes or read one page of a chapter.

• Push assignment due dates up on your calendar. This motivation will kick-start you into action.

• Plan your studying around your old habits. If you drink coffee every morning, get into the habit of planning what you’ll work on at what time for that day. Link this to something you do daily, while waiting for the bus or on the ride to campus. Over time, it will become second nature to you.

•Keep track of how many days it has been since you last slacked off. If you break your routine, start over and try to make a new record. Don’t let your failures get you down.

Stay healthy

• Make sure you get enough sleep. Eight to nine hours is recommended for teenagers and young adults. This way, you won’t be too tired to study and you’ll have the energy to get through the day.

• Eat regular meals to maintain energy. Try to eat healthy as much as possible or at least avoid junk food binges. Divide your food intake into three or four small meals a day.

Above all, don’t let your failures get the best of you. Reward yourself for a job well done. Every small assignment that you complete will encourage you and it will lay the groundwork for getting that scary, overwhelming project done.

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        22 tips to avoid procrastination