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With finals around the corner and professors cramming in all their last-minute assignments, the last few weeks are bound to be hectic. When I’m anticipating a stressful time, my gut instinct is to distract myself by going on my phone or pushing off my impending work for another episode of whatever I’m watching on Netflix, but this is a recipe for even greater stress. Here are 3 tips on how to reduce your procrastination.

Start your Task and Motivation will Follow

Most of us are guilty of waiting for the “next exam” or “next semester” to become a more productive student. We expect the future versions of ourselves to be more motivated than we are in the present, but expecting a fleeting emotion to magically change us is an unrealistic hope that just validates our bad habits. Even beyond that, motivation is something that you can create yourself; after you begin a task, the finish line before you propels you forward. It might be annoying and something you already know, but just put your phone aside and begin the task. You can start by telling yourself that you’ll only do it for five minutes to make the task seem less daunting, but it’ll be easy to continue from there.

Self-Reflect on Why You Procrastinate

I’ve noticed that a lot of the things I enjoy doing to procrastinate on my work, like watching Netflix, lose a lot of their enjoyment whenever I’m on break and don’t have studying to put off. This is because I am not addicted to watching TV or wasting time, but more so because I am scared of doing poorly on an assignment or stressed about trying to study for a difficult class. This is also why it’s so much easier for us to review exam concepts that we don’t have trouble with as opposed to the ones we find challenging; it’s because we are scared of being bad at things or not knowing how to do them. There’s no way to sugarcoat this, but you should just start by doing the assignment that scares you the most. Promise yourself a reward after you tackle the task, but just force yourself to begin with it. We have a habit of making the things we fear into giant monsters, but the reality is usually way easier to manage.

Put your Phone in a Different Room

This can be difficult to do, especially because a lot of us live in college dorms and residence halls, but a closet works just as well. The key is to keep your phone somewhere out of sight and difficult to access (it’s like using your laziness against you). Phones are designed to be addicting, down to the ding of a text message, so keeping it near you while you’re attempting to be productive is probably not the best idea. Eliminating such distractions seems like such a small change, but it can have a very large impact on the quality of your studying and work time.

Procrastination is an addictive habit that makes you feel guilty even as you do fun things to waste time, so just force yourself to put your distractions away and study before you reward yourself. Of course, these are all tips that you subconsciously expected or even consciously known, but acting on it is up to you. So, stop procrastinating on your work by reading this article and start studying!

Hey! I'm a second year in UMKC's BA/MD program I love listening to music, watching Netflix/YouTube, singing, and learning new languages :)
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