How To Overcome Procrastination in College
A huge project’s just been assigned to you, and you’re staring it in the face, unsure of how you’re going to complete it. It’s a daunting task that will clearly take a significant amount of time to complete, but instead of tackling it head on, you’re stalling, doing everything possible to keep away from the work.
We’ve all been there. Procrastination is a dangerous habit, and many of us have no idea how to fight its urges. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the amount of time you waste, and they’re simple. So, while you continue to find reasons not to get back on track, at least take the time to look at this list of useful tips below.
Start Early & Take Your Time
These two play off of one another. The earlier you start your work, the more time you have to pace yourself and prevent panic. Starting early in the day also allows you to get the most out of it, while starting an assignment at midnight narrows your window of productivity and puts unnecessary pressure on you. Working on an assignment throughout the day may also help widen your perspective on the job, allowing you to notice and change things that you probably would not have caught otherwise.
Make A List & Check It Twice
Organization is the first key of success in any task. Start by creating a detailed list of every step you need to take to finish the project. Underneath each item on the list, make several bullet points that explain how the task can be accomplished and what the final result should look like. Creating tangible checkpoints will make the task seem less intimidating, and gives you more direction while working. Once you’ve checked off the entire list, look it over and make sure things are clear.
Mix Up The Tasks On The List
Sometimes doing your work in order can make it seem more menial and repetitive than it has to be. Once you’ve made your list, try to jump around it and knock things out based on your level of interest. By staggering the difficulty of the parts, you won’t get stuck in a routine where you’re doing several difficult tasks back to back.
Plan Undisrupted Work Times & Take Breaks Between Them
Making a precise working schedule keeps you focused and prevents burnouts. Oftentimes, when you sit at a computer for hours on end, you lose motivation and perspective on the task at hand. Assign blocks of time where you work uninterrupted, preferably two hours in length. Take thirty-minute to hour-long breaks in between, so you can regain your focus and review what’s left to accomplish.
Break The Task Apart & Reward Yourself
Whether it’s an eight-page paper, an extensive case-study, or anything else, doing a project from start to finish in one sitting can be exhausting. Instead of doing it all in one day, try to break the task down over the course of several days with my major checkpoints. As you accomplish each one, give yourself a small reward, whether it be your favorite snack, your favorite show, some good music, or some time with a friend.
Turn Off & Turn Away From Anything Distracting
If you’re the type of person who can’t keep their hands off their phone for five minutes, this applies to you. Turn off anything that can possibly distract you while you’re getting work done, and leave any environments that may remove your focus. Log off all social network sites, put your phone on “silent” or “do not disturb” mode, and tell anyone who may try to contact you that you will be unavailable. If watching TV or listening to music makes work easier, feel free to indulge.
Work Ahead & Plan Ahead
This may be the most underrated and overlooked tip, as you should never be afraid to achieve more when there’s an opportunity. If you can, try to work past the boundary you set for a particular day. This way, you’ll have less work to do in the days ahead, and more time to handle other things that need to be done. Working ahead will also give you added confidence in the moments leading up to your next session, and more time to review for mistakes once you’re finished.
If you ever have issues managing your time, this list will help in all future endeavors. Just don’t spend too much time reading this and get back to work!