Tips for Procrastinators

Maybe you are reading this article as a form of procrastination. As a procrastinator, coming back from Thanksgiving break is a rude awakening as professors begin to pile on the work for the last few days of class before finals. The class you haven’t had any work in all semester suddenly assigns a 7-page paper and a test in the same week! Don’t panic, there are several things to do to beat procrastination.

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All procrastinators know that we function best as time is running out. The pressure of being under a time limit forces us to produce the best work we can in the shortest amount of time possible, but this also means that it’s a high stakes (and high stress!) situation. Instead of waiting for the last possible minute to beat the clock, set your own timer. The combination of 20 minutes of pure working and a 5-minute break works best for me to get me in the productivity mindset. I’ve heard other people use 10 minutes on, 2 minutes off, and even 30 minutes on, 10 minutes off. I try to save a YouTube video I’ve been wanting to see that’s under 5 minutes so I’m not tempted to watch more during my break. It’s important to give yourself those breaks in the beginning, but eventually, I spend longer on the tasks at hand because I just want to get them done, and hopefully, you will too!

 

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The longer you wait to start tasks, the more daunting they seem. I used to get all the “easy” assignments out of the way first, but by the time you’re finished with those you’re left with assignments that seem impossible, especially with your even more limited time. Now, I would recommend starting with the hardest tasks first. And if you break them into pieces, they won’t even be that hard! If you’re writing a paper, just take the first step and write your thesis or your introduction paragraph. It doesn’t have to be your best writing, just having some words on the page is better than nothing! It’s easier to edit a draft than an entire paper.

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The best advice I can give for procrastinators is to watch Tim Urban’s TedTalk, “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator.” Urban explains the minds of procrastinators in a funny, relatable way that gets through to us all.

Finally, don’t beat yourself up this finals season! Look out for your future self by starting to prep and plan for your assignments now. College is especially difficult for procrastinators this time of year, but you can do it!

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