How to Combat Procrastination: Tips for College Students
Procrastination is one of the problems that college and university students tend to face. Learn how to battle it and become a successful student!
Procrastination: The Worst Enemy of a College Student
If we were asked to single out just one obstacle that causes college students the most grief and has the greatest chances of preventing them from successfully graduating, we would name procrastination as the culprit. Many are used to joking about this topic, and the majority of students do not treat procrastination particularly seriously. Yes, it exists, yes, it sometimes prevents you from writing your essays on time; but does it really has all that critical an impact? We would say that yes, it does, and battling procrastination should be one of your first goals after getting to college. In this article, we will give you some ideas of what you can do about it.
1. Create Multiple Evenly Spaced Deadlines
Of course, using any sort of self-imposed deadlines requires a bit of discipline and willpower, but putting some effort into developing this habit will pay off tenfold. Let’s say, you have to write an essay in response to a particular book. Your professor sets a deadline by which you should submit a pdf with your essay. For most students, it would sound like a license to put this bit of work off until the very end of the allotted time and then scramble into action.
How about trying out something different? Divide the job into multiple smaller segments and set your own deadlines for each of them. Set a deadline for reading the book in question. For choosing from the available response essay topics. For studying the examples of response essays. For writing the outline. For writing the essay. For preparing the summary. For proofreading the text. Then do your best to meet these deadlines one by one. You will be amazed at how much difference it makes.
2. Spread Your Workload Evenly
Another thing you should spread evenly is your workload in general. In college, you study multiple courses under multiple professors, and you can easily end up with a few large assignments you should submit on one and the same day. Keep track of your workload and make sure you always have enough time to complete all assignments on time. E.g., if you have two papers on different topics to submit on the same day, make sure you complete one of them in advance so that you have enough time to deal with the other.
3. Create a Proper Learning Environment
When you do your homework, it is very easy to drift away from the current topic to something more interesting. Instead of trying to figure out the answers to the questions posed in the home assignment, it is certainly more fun to check your social media accounts, take a break to play video games, get into an online discussion with your friends, and so on. Of course, distractions have always been a part of life, and students always had to deal with them, but the problem with today’s distractions is that they are extremely available. You are always a click or a swipe away from your cat videos, videogames, and social media. What you have to do to avoid procrastinating this way is make getting distracted more difficult. Turn off your smartphone and put it in another room so that you cannot just reach out for it. Put on noise-canceling headphones. Install an anti-distraction app or browser extension.
4. Make Yourself Accountable
It may be a bit humiliating to admit it, but most people do not treat the promises they give to themselves particularly seriously. Meanwhile, most of us are very eager to fulfill the promises we give to others – not because we are such good people, but because we like it when others see us as reliable and dependable. In other words, if you promise to yourself to complete your sample essay by Friday, later it will be all too easy to say to yourself, “Well, I don’t quite feel like it. No big deal, I’ll do it tomorrow”. However, when you promise somebody else that you are going to complete this essay by Friday and make sure you will have to report your success or failure, you will be reluctant to miss the deadline, because it makes you look weak and lazy. Use this trait of the human psyche and find somebody to whom you can give such promises in the future.
5. Find Your Most Productive Time
Different people are at their most productive at different times of the day. Some work best early in the morning, others get their energy flowing late at night. You may procrastinate not because you are lazy or disorganized, but because you try to work at the wrong time. Try out different times of day and see if your productivity changes as a result.
Procrastination is not something you can get rid of just by making a decision to become energetic, proactive, and efficient. It is a long process of acquiring the right habits, but we hope that these tips will go a long way towards improving your relationship with work.