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Calling all procrastinators: 2021 is our time to shine! Yes, I know it may be too hopeful in thinking that starting a new year will miraculously solve the timeless issue of procrastination. But there is nothing better than moving into 2021 with a positive mindset! Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you better conquer the infamous mortal enemy of students: procrastination.

1. Get. A. Planner! 

Say it louder for the people in the back! A planner is an absolute essential for keeping track of your life. In order to combat the fear of falling behind, try and write down all your assignments and exams in a daily planner. This can be through any form – virtual, paper, anything! If the task of inputting all the due dates from your classes feels overwhelming, start small. First, try writing down all your assignment due dates. Then, take a break and write down all the exam dates. Continue this process of slowly writing down all important information until you feel that you’ve covered everything. (As a bonus tip, make sure you double-check your due dates! There is nothing worse than writing down the wrong thing, and I am especially guilty of this.) 

Journal opened to September
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

2. To-do lists are your best friend. 

To-do lists are what genuinely saved me from master procrastination, but I know at times they can be like a double-edged sword. On one hand, they are great for keeping you on track with what needs to be done. On the other hand, not accomplishing everything on your list can lead you to feel shame. But don’t let this get the best of you! To-do lists can be fun and exciting! Try starting off with a smaller amount of tasks so you feel more comfortable, and then gradually add more tasks to your lists as you see progress. If you don’t get to everything you aimed to do that day, don’t worry! Like everyone else, you are a beautiful human making beautiful mistakes. Try to see not accomplishing all your tasks as an opportunity for the next day to be better! 

3. Find your workspace. 

This one is huge! Finding a space where you can get in the zone and crackdown on work is so important during virtual learning. If it’s at a desk, I recommend that whenever you are physically sitting down at your workspace, not to go on your phone or relax in that same space. The physical process of sitting down at your workspace should make you feel like you want to conquer the tasks you set to accomplish. Whenever you relax at that workspace, such as sitting down and immediately going on Tiktok, you’re essentially making it a little bit harder for yourself to get into the study mindset you need! 

A woman works on a computer, and the table has a coffee cup and open notebook.
Photo by Peter Olexa from Pexels

4. Do a little of everything each day. 

I’ll admit, this sounds a bit strange. But when you begin to work on big tasks little by little, all of those small instances of work add up. Before you know it, you’ll be halfway or almost fully done! I personally have fallen victim to procrastination due to a perfectionist mentality. I think to myself that I don’t want to start a task because I know it won’t be the best thing I can produce at that specific moment. But this isn’t true! The pure act of starting something can sometimes lead you to get sucked into the work. Who knows – you may even end up completing more than you initially thought!

5. Think of productivity in terms of self-care. 

Whenever you find yourself at the crossroads of deciding whether to procrastinate on an assignment, think about how choosing to start it is being kind to yourself. You have complete control over how you approach anything, whether it be procrastination or any other decision you need to make in life. Rather than choosing to create more stress for yourself, choose the option that your future self will thank you for! 

Procrastination can at times be everyone’s mortal enemy, but I promise you, it can be conquered! So take a deep breath, select all your favorite study stationery, and get ready to rock it! :)

Catalina is currently a third-year English major at University of California, Davis. Her interests include watching Studio Ghibli movies, reading fantasy novels, listening to Broadway musicals, and cooking with her family. After graduation, Catalina would like to become a high school English teacher and share her love of storytelling with her future students. :)
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