Most, if not all people, suffer from procrastination every day. You are not struggling alone. If you’ve ever thought “why do I do this to myself?” at two in the morning the night before an assignment is due, know that you aren’t the only one. Luckily, procrastination is a bad habit that can be fixed like any other bad habit. Sure, it takes some time, but here are some steps that can help fellow procrastinators.
1. Make a List
One of the reasons I procrastinate, other than being compulsively lazy, is because I’m overwhelmed. Looking at the looming deadlines, all I can think is “I can’t do this.” Listing your tasks, preferably early on in the semester, will help you visualize the work. Having a list of tasks helps you decide what’s more pressing and when to start an assignment. Also, manually checking them off makes you feel more productive! You can see your progress and you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
2. Find Your Spot
By now, you know what does and doesn’t work for you. Where are you more efficient? Are quiet libraries your thing, or do you prefer bustling coffee shops? Or do you prefer staying in the comfort of your home? Wherever it is, you should be there studying.
3. Kill Bad Habits
One of the main problems with procrastinators is that they are easily distracted. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or Snapchat, social media kills any motivation we might have had. Something cool to try out would be the app Forest: Stay Focused. You plant a tree and set a timer to study. Its minimum 10 minutes, maximum 120 minutes. During this time the tree or plant grows, but if you click away from the app to check your texts, phone calls, or anything else, the plant dies. If you keep up the good work, you’ll find yourself with a forest someday.
4. Pace Yourself
Now that you have a list, made in advance, you won’t be cramming the night before. You’ve settled in to study and you can do so at your own pace. Long periods of work are tiring and lead to binging (whether it’s Facebook or Netflix) on your well-deserved break. If you shorten the span of time you study to, let’s say, 25 minutes, and take five minutes between sessions, you will be less likely to binge on your break.
Now that you’ve made your list, found your place, turned off the phone and planned out your studying, you can finally de-stress. Stress during finals, or in general, is the last thing you want. Planning ahead of time allows you to have enough time for your work, and possibly give you some free time too.