First of all, let’s be honest here. Is it the first semester I’m telling this to myself? No. I didn’t enter the college aiming to procrastinate. Neither did you. We just took the wrong turn somewhere on the way and ended up pulling an all-nighter to squeeze out a three-thousand-word essay by 7 a.m. Remember how it felt being infused with six Red Bulls at once and sobbing all over your laptop? Yep, I do too. That’s why I’m very serious about this headline.
Good news: you learned your lessons
There are many ways to beat procrastination. You won’t change overnight, but you can do your best. If you think you haven’t got the willpower, check out tips on strengthening your willpower muscle. People are not born with a strong will. It needs time to build it up. So don’t be harsh on yourself.
WHY do you procrastinate, in the first place? In a nutshell, it’s partly anxiety, partly laziness, partly boredom, and partly distractions. Whichever your reasons are, you still can overcome them by sticking to a good strategy. Lay out a detailed plan and tweak your routines to invite productivity into your life.
Remember your why
As you set on this journey, define your reasoning. You will not procrastinate this semester to feel good and save yourself from the misery of missing the deadlines. Getting straight A’s is another part of the job and is not directly related. Take one step at a time.
First, find your weak points. They will fall under some of these categories:
- You’re scared. The assignment petrifies you so you cannot start it. Anxiety is the number one reason for procrastination. The bad news is it never goes away by delaying the task, but only grows bigger and makes you feel even worse.
- You’re bored. You promise yourself to study today, but you catch up on a follow-up thread on Twitter. Then your favorite song comes on the radio and you dance a little. Then it’s time to go get some kale at organic market… All these things are way more exciting than cracking the books.
- You’re lazy. Speaking of the willpower here. It’s always been tough for you to do anything – your mom still nags you about never doing your chores. You know that you will always pick the couch rather than sports, study, or picnic.
- You’re busy. More and more students take on the day jobs or start an enterprise. This reason is opposite to being lazy, yet does exactly the same. You don’t have a time slot for study today. Tomorrow, too. And definitely not on weekend, since you have two product shootings and a bloggers meetup.
Adjust solutions to your reasons
For the SCARED
- Take a deep breath and call your professor. Share your concerns with him or her, and ask for advice on how to break down the assignment or where to start. By being proactive you’ll show that you are interested in doing the job. Make sure to take notes, and then write down everything you discussed. This would be your kickstart.
- Google. If the topic seems scary because it’s new to you, go to Wikipedia. The goal is to beat the fear of the unknown. Say, you need to write an essay on ‘Oxymorons in the poetry of the Beat generation’. When you find out that Beat generation is Ginsberg and Kerouac, and the oxymoron is a self-contradiction, it becomes a bit easier.
- Break it down. If you need to read a huge book, count the pages and break the whole thing into digestible sessions. Schedule the time for them. 45 minutes a day will do. Draft your schedule on a piece of paper and pin it to the wall. When the time comes, sit down and read for 45 mins. Cross it out. Now you feel better.
For the BORED
- Find a fun approach that triggers you. Say, you need to write an essay on the gay marriage in your area. Why don’t you go to the city hall and interview the workers there? They can share some facts or funny stories that will for sure win you some extra score in professor’s eyes.
- Watch movies on your topic. It might be a feature film – biopics is a particularly good area to look into. Also, documentaries can help. Watch them to get the data on the subject and motivate yourself with some visuals.
- Bring in the music. Writing feels much less painful with your favorite artists playing along. Try the live show videos as a soundtrack for study. Hey, if Ed Sheeran can sing for ninety minutes in a row, then you can stick in your chair for the same amount of time, don’t you?
- Bribe yourself. Is there a great party you don’t want to miss? Promise yourself you’ll buy a new dress to go to this party if you sit down and study for one hour. If you do the same one-hour study session tomorrow, you can also get new shoes. Now sit down and work for it!
For the LAZY
- Get the study buddy. Choose the most responsible person around. Look for the community heads or the library volunteers. Doesn’t matter if his or her company is enjoyable to you. Your meetups are about studying, and it’s better if you only think about the books.
- Join the study community. You may even start a study club of some kind – the Lazy Student club, maybe? You’ll have hundreds of followers.
- Get out of your dorm. You need to get as far from your bed as possible. Try the library, coffee shop, or a local museum. Being out and around will mobilize you.
- Bring a little notebook with the due subjects with you. Write there when you have a chance, say, when riding a bus. Nail a paragraph here and a paragraph there, and it can go a long way.
For the BUSY
- Prioritize correctly. First, remember yours why. If you want to be an entrepreneur, then you definitely need this business major, do you? Take time to clarify how your study and your business are connected. It will help you to treat the college assignments as the steps to very important milestones.
- Delegate. It’s the most important skill for the aspiring businessman to master. Find the points where you can give your job to someone else. Maybe you could hire an online assistant to manage your Etsy shop, or get a content writer to cover your blog.
- Treat your education as your job. As a busy person, you know the true value of time. Schedule the specific time for the study assignments every day. Put away everything else and work on your papers, college books, and essays.
Here’s what I’m doing this semester:
- Writing out all the exciting musical gigs. I’ll treat myself with the tickets if I stay on track with my study.
- Evaluating the activities that keep me busy every day, and define the tasks that can be delegated.
- Scheduling the prioritized time slot for the study on my peak performance hours. Everything else will have to fall between.
- Starting a study buddies group on social.
- Googling movies and fiction books in my majors.
- Making a list of cool affordable, laptop-friendly coffee shops in the area.
- Committing to the small steps.
There is no way I will push myself into the misery of missing my deadlines once again. The lesson is learned. The objective is set. My goal is NOT procrastinating. And I solemnly swear to have a well-deserved chocolate truffle for every day that I manage to do it.
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