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Procrastinating means delaying a task by putting it off momentarily. Everyone does this when it comes to schoolwork, chores, or even job searching. Of course, there are so many more things to procrastinate, but schoolwork is usually just the tip of the iceberg for college students. 

 

Here are some tips that I have found useful when it comes to ending this unproductive habit.

Keep lists for yourself.

The most effective way to keep track of housekeeping, work, errands, or any other necessary tasks is by making a list. Lists help you remember everything you need to do each day or week, and they hold you accountable for these tasks.

 

An excellent way to write lists is to start with the most pressing things at the top, and work your way down to the least important at the bottom. This means the top items on the list must be worked on or completed that day, and tasks at the bottom may need to be moved to another day if required tasks take too long. 

 

Ordering lists helps balance the importance of tasks, and crossing items off once you complete them can be satisfying. This feeling can inspire you to be more productive on the following days where you have many things to cross off.

Change locations.

Changing locations may have become difficult for some people — especially in the midst of a pandemic. When you are stuck at home, it is hard to do your work when all you want to do is just lay in bed. 

 

I struggle with this issue, and I find that it helps me tremendously to get out of my apartment and move somewhere I can do work. This could be the library, the HUB, the business building, a coffee shop, or a dining hall or common area. Anywhere that is somewhat public can help force you to sit down and get work done because there is nothing else to do. 

 

If you can’t leave your place or don’t feel comfortable doing so yet, then designate a particular seat, table, or room to do work. Meaning, when you sit in that seat or that room, you are solely focused on getting your work completed. 

 

This can be much easier said than done — distractions are almost inevitable — but you have to have some discipline with yourself to not fall behind in what you need to do.

Talk yourself through a plan. 

I’m not sure if anyone else does this, but I find it very helpful to talk myself through doing my work or some other task I have to get done. 

 

For example, you could talk yourself through which tasks you are going to do and when you are going to do them. Or, it could be talking yourself through a plan to travel to another location, and specifically putting your phone away once you get there. 

 

I guess this is a way to set an intention for your day and manifest it, if you will. Getting everything laid out and together in your mind can lead to a more productive mentality. Most of the time, when I explicitly say I’m going to do something, I hold myself to it. 

Don’t make excuses. 

A huge justification for procrastinating is making excuses: “Oh, but I have to go to the grocery store today,” or “Oh, but I have to watch that show today since everyone will be talking about it.”

 

I get it; I have made those same excuses for myself before. However, they are going to get you nowhere. Whenever you catch yourself making excuses, just remember there are only 24 hours in a day to get things done.

 

This means you can write parts of your essay while still having time for the grocery store. Or, you can complete your math assignment before you start watching that new show. 

 

The same thing goes for taking time for yourself. This is important to do, but it can become unhealthy when it is drawn out longer than needed because you are procrastinating. 

 

Personal time shouldn’t be used as an excuse. Plus, you will get the best, most relaxing ‘you time’ when what you need to do is already done.

Reward yourself.

To get yourself to start a project sooner, reward yourself when you start or when you finish. Reward yourself with a snack, a piece of candy, a strict 10 minutes on your phone, or just a quick walk. 

 

I do this all the time. If I finish what I need to do in a day, I will reward myself with watching one or two episodes of my favorite show. Episodes of a show or a movie are suitable as a reward because you get to relax while rewarding yourself too.

Hopefully these tips can help you finish out the semester in the healthiest and most productive way possible!

Marlena is a third-year in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State where she is majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Psychology and Digital Media Trends and Analytics. She is so grateful to be at Penn State and loves learning more about communications, her peers, and herself every day. She hopes to use this knowledge and her own positive outlook to help others in any way she can.
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