Procrastination is a major killer to being successful as a student.
Many people know all too well the cycle of procrastination. Where you start to procrastinate, cram at the last minute to get things done, feel stressed and guilty for procrastinating, and then start to procrastinate again.
How many of us have attempted to apply a method that is supposed to prevent procrastination just to end up procrastinating again?
The problem with these methods is that they never address the root of why you are procrastinating.
Find the Emotion
The first step that you should take whenever you first find that you are procrastinating is what are the emotions you are feeling when dealing with that assignment.
Are you nervous that you won’t be able to do well on it?
Do you feel overwhelmed?
Are you annoyed or frustrated by having to complete these assignments?
There is always some emotion that is causing you to push that assignment off. If you do not deal with the emotion, you will always be following the procrastination cycle.
So how do you deal with the emotions?
If you are nervous you won’t do well or feel like you will be a failure, remember that by pushing the assignment off you are making it more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The sooner you start your assignment will allow you to have the best chance at success on your assignment.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, then prioritize your work and break your assignments down into smaller assignments.
If you are annoyed by the assignment, remember why you have to complete the assignment in the first place. Every assignment is moving you closer to the goal you want to attain!
Break Assignments Up
One of the big reasons people procrastinate is due to either feeling overwhelmed or not knowing where to start.
The solution to both things is to break up an assignment into smaller assignments that can be spread out through time.
For example, if you have a major paper, thinking about completing your paper may simply be too much so you continue to put it off. However, if you think you just need to decide on a topic for a paper, you know where to start and it doesn’t seem as daunting of a task.
Therefore, a great way to stop procrastinating is to break up an assignment into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. Even if you need to break a problem set up into one problem at a time, that may help you to be able to be better at procrastinating.
When you have finally sat down to do the assignment, procrastination can start to sneak in through getting on your phone or doing unrelated activities to take breaks through your work.
How often have you started working and wondered how you worked for two hours and got nothing done because you were distracted the whole time.
To avoid this, you should take planned breaks. This can be different for different people. Some people can work well for an hour straight with short breaks between, where others can only work for 20-30 minutes well without a break.
The important thing with these breaks is that you need to have it timed. When the time is over, you need to get back to work.
Also, if there are things that you know are traps for you, avoid them. For me, getting on Facebook is a great way for me to spend hours getting nothing done.
Therefore, when I am focusing on work, I try to avoid getting on Facebook during my breaks because it is so easy for me to get lost in it.
Know When Procrastination is not Procrastination
The biggest mistake we make in regard to procrastination is when we mistake a cry for self-care as procrastination.
When we just want to sit on our couch and watch TV, sometimes it's not real procrastination. It's our minds telling us we need a break and we need to recharge.
Trying to continue to do work in this state usually just leads to frustration and more burn out.
When experiencing these things, take the time you need to recharge and move forward into being productive the next day.
Procrastination is an action, not a trait.
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