Tips for Overcoming Procrastination in College
High school may have been forgiving of procrastination, but don’t expect college to be the same. Procrastination is the bane of most student’s existence. With courses being much more fast-paced and rigorous, it’s key to stay on top of things if you want to succeed. Waiting until the last minute causes unnecessary stress, all-nighters, and assignments turned in that hardly showcases your best work.
If you are guilty of procrastinating, consider these tips to crush the destructive habit, get some sleep for once, and excel in college!
Give Yourself Reasonable Deadlines
Don’t get trapped into the continual mindset of “Oh, I’ll get to that eventually,” or “Someday, I’ll finally tackle that dreadful essay.” The reality for many is that “eventually” and “someday” often never comes. With that said, it’s critical to set a specific date and time for when you want to accomplish something. For example, if you have an assignment due in a week, it may be reasonable to set yourself a deadline of three days to get it done. This way, you have time to proofread, get feedback, or just have extra time to complete it if something unexpected comes up.
It’s hard to get any work done if you don’t know what needs to be finished. That being said, before getting started on anything, jot down a list of assignments and tasks that need to be completed. You may invest in a planner or use the calendar app on your phone. Everyone has a different way to stay organized, so find a way that works best for you! Doing so will make it much easier to keep tabs on individual assignments and important due dates.
Set Realistic, Achievable Goals
A lot of the time, people procrastinate because the task at hand seems too daunting. If this sounds like what you are going through, then it may be helpful to break up the task into simple, reachable goals rather than a massive, unclear plan. Instead of telling yourself that you will get to the book tonight, set out how many chapters you think you’ll be able to tackle each day and stick with it. This way, you’ll finish the book soon before you know it, and your goals will be much less intimidating and more attainable!
In the modern-day, we have plenty of distractions around us even when we aren’t looking for it. It’s easy to burn through an hour scrolling through your social media feeds without even knowing it! Think about how much you could get done in that hour instead. If you tend to grab your phone without much thought, then it may be a good idea to shut off your phone completely and store it somewhere inconvenient temporarily. This way, you can focus on the task at hand, make progress or finish it efficiently, and get back to your phone later.
Distractions can also take the form of a noisy roommate or traffic outside your dorm room. These can be a little harder to control, but you can take measures to mitigate them. For example, you could invest in a white noise machine to drown out the sound, or change your study environment by heading to your local library where you can clear your mind and study with no distractions.
Get Comfy, But Not Too Comfy
If you know that you’ll be studying for a while, then it’s essential to get comfortable so that you can absorb information to the best of your abilities without feeling agitated. Now, we’re not saying to jump into bed – as you might get too comfortable and fall asleep. However, investing in a solid office chair and a nice desk contributes to productivity and a healthy posture. Listening to your favorite music that gets you in the groove can go a long way in helping you power through an assignment, too!
Just Get Started
You may have heard the saying, “The hardest part is getting started.” This is true for many, which is why we recommend just jumping into it. Don’t give yourself any excuses. Once you start, you can only make progress from there!
Take a Break
Getting started is one thing. Taking a break is another. Both are equally important! You don’t want to burn yourself out working on one thing for hours at a time without standing up for a stretch, walking to the dining hall for a quick snack, getting fresh air outdoors, or taking a nap if you need it. Remember to listen to your body and honor it. Staying healthy is important, as without good health it’s impossible to perform well in school.
Finish the Hard Stuff First
It can be especially difficult to get started on something you really don’t want to do – which is exactly why you should buckle down and jump into that first! By getting the dreadful assignment out of the way, you are much more likely to feel motivated to do the rest. Everything after the hard task seems much easier and may take less time for you to complete.
Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your schedule! Motivation can be hard to come by on some days, which is where little rewards can make finishing tasks more enticing. Give yourself incentives. It could be as simple as, “I will spend an hour playing with my dog at the park after finishing this biology assignment.” Or, you can give yourself bigger incentives like, “If I earn an A in biology this semester, I’ll treat myself to a meal at my favorite restaurant.” Once you’ve set the reward in mind, keep your eye on the prize!
Find an Accountability Partner
Telling someone about your goal can be helpful if you are the type to forget about an assignment or put it off if you’re the only person holding yourself accountable. Once someone knows about what you need to get done, he or she can check in on you to make sure you are making progress. Accountability partners are great to have because then you also have someone to celebrate your victories with, or share your struggles with. Either way, you’re not alone in the journey. Having the extra support may be just what you need to get started on that English essay you’ve been putting off for a week.
There you have it – our favorite ways to beat procrastination! It may take a little discipline at first, but once you get the swing of things, it should become much easier and even second nature. Overcoming procrastination will go a long way in setting yourself up for success in the long run, and even free up time for other productive activities like picking up an internship and socializing with friends all the while getting everything you need done, done!