All students, whether they study in high school, college or university, encounter procrastination sooner or later. It is especially true if, for some reason, you have to do projects for the disciplines you do not particularly care about. For example, if you are not interested in STEM subjects but still have to do homework for them, procrastination is pretty much a given. Falling victim to it can be harmful in a variety of ways:
- You lag behind with your studies because you do not complete homework on time;
- The quality of your homework suffers because you often have to do it at the last possible moment, as you spent most of the time allotted to it doing nothing;
- Procrastination is not even pleasant. When we procrastinate, we usually do not do what we want to do or like to do. We perform meaningless and useless activities that have no other purpose but to keep us away from an unpleasant task at hand. For example, we purposelessly surf the Internet, scroll through our social media feeds, jump from one mildly interesting YouTube video to the next;
- You waste time that could have been spent doing something useful and/or pleasant.
As you can see, procrastination does not have any upsides. Whatever way you look at it, it is a pure loss, both in the short and in the long term. So what can you do to battle it?
1. Get Rid of Distractions
The first thing you should do to stop procrastinating is to make your usual procrastination methods as difficult as possible. Ask yourself, “What am I inclined to do when I look for ways to distract myself from the task at hand?” Do you play with your smartphone? Turn it off and put it somewhere in another room so that you have to get up and go there to get it. Do you scroll through your social media feeds or visit particular websites? You probably need an app like Freedom or Leechblock to prevent yourself from doing it when you are supposed to study. Do you regularly feel the urge to go and grab something to eat or drink? Keep your drinks and snacks nearby and eliminate this pretext.
2. Ask for Help
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do about a particularly unpleasant task is to find an expert assignment helper and delegate the job to him/her. This will save you both the time and effort you would have to spend on this task otherwise.
3. Set Yourself Intermediary Deadlines
When you have a project due in a few months, it is extremely easy to procrastinate about it. Consider this situation: you study programming and have an assignment that will take about a thousand lines of code to complete. You’ve been given two months to complete this project. If you treat it as a single task, you are likely to procrastinate because:
- The assignment is huge and intimidating;
- You seemingly have plenty of time to complete it;
- You do not have a clear sense of how much time it will take to do it.
In this situation, you can divide it into parts and set deadlines for each of them: e.g., to have 150 lines of code ready by the end of each week.
4.Find the Time when You Are Most Productive
Different people are at their best at different times of the day. While most of us are used to associating morning and the first half of a day with work, it is not necessarily the optimal time for you specifically. Who knows, perhaps you feel the need to procrastinate simply because you try to study at the wrong time? Look for what works for you, try different periods, and see if you show better results.
5.Get to the Root of the Problem
No method will be enough to beat procrastination unless you understand why you procrastinate in the first place. You know that procrastination is counter-productive and time-consuming, so why do you do it? The answer may not be as simple as it seems. Some people simply avoid doing unpleasant tasks. Others avoid novel experiences and use procrastinating habits to stay in their comfort zone. Still, others procrastinate because they feel they are not capable or smart enough to successfully deal with their homework. Once you better understand why you procrastinate, you will be able to battle this habit more efficiently.
6.Stick to a Schedule
Procrastination begins when you start overthinking something when you allow yourself to start questioning whether you should start working on a task right now. Eliminate such a possibility. Set a schedule and choose specific periods when you are going to be doing your homework every day, irrespectively of circumstances. When you get down to study at the same time every day, if you stick to this habit for a while, you will be much less inclined to question whether you should start studying or not. It will become automatic. You will not slow down to think, thus creating an opportunity for procrastination.
Procrastination is your number one enemy throughout school and college, and you should learn every trick in the book to deal with it. How well you learn to manage your procrastinating proclivities will, to a significant extent, determine your overall success throughout your academic career. So follow these tips, and the results will not be long in coming.
Avid music fanatic. Communicator. Social media expert. Award-winning bacon scholar. Alcohol fan.