Oh the woes of a college student. We all know, maybe a little too well, what happens when we procrastinate until the last minute on a project, studying for an exam, or a paper, but knowing the consequences doesn’t always keep us from performing the action. Plus, procrastination can come from many different roots. Different sources for your procrastination can be that:
- Sometimes it can just be so hard to motivate yourself to do something when you can see the list of ten other things you need to work on. In this situation, being overwhelmed by a large amount of work taunts you into submission as you turn on the TV and your work is left undone.
- Sometimes you’re legitimately burnt out. You’ve been working so hard on other things that this project doesn’t seem to be worth the time/effort, so you put it off to do other, more pressing projects.
- Sometimes you can’t decide where to start. Having a complex project where you have no idea where to start can be frustrating. A lot of times, instead of combatting this frustration and asking for help or being proactive in the project, you simply put it off until you HAVE to figure it out.
- Sometimes Facebook is open in your browser, and people just keep chatting you. It’s rude not to answer, right?
Whichever is the root of your procrastination, there is hope! Here are some tips to being proactive in fighting it off:
- Create a productive environment.
If you notice yourself not being able to resist the urge to watch TV or nap when you’re at home, head to a library or coffee shop to do your work. The lack of trivial distractions will help you focus on what you need to get done.
- Break the work into segments.
If you have an exam over three chapters coming up in three days, study a chapter a night until the exam, or if you have a 5 page paper due in 3 days, write an outline one night, draft the next, and finalize the night before it’s due. Breaking it down will leave less to overwhelm you.
- Ask for help.
Especially if you don’t understand or don’t know where to begin on a project, asking for help from a professor, TA, or supervisor can help you understand and focus what you need to do.
- Close Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc.
This is probably my hardest lesson to learn. Social media is a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with people and the world, but it also can be a HUGE BLACK HOLE that swallows you in, until you realize you’ve spent the past hour in a heated discussion about why Jennifer broke up with Brad instead of writing your paper. Close the extra tabs in your browser, and if you must, check you social media when you come to stopping points in your work.
What are some ways you fight off procrastination?