There’s always that point in the semester when you’re feeling burned out and no longer motivated. There’s so much on your to-do list that you don’t even know where to start. Procrastination puts you in a loop – you’re not in the right mood to do work and feel unproductive, so you decide to do it later. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” you say. Instead, you’re busy doing things you don’t need to do in order to avoid everything you’re supposed to do. Netflix? A nap?
Here are some tips on battling procrastination:
1. The best way to get something done is to begin.
We tend to overthink large tasks that we have to accomplish, but once we actually start, we lose track of time. Don’t shoot for completion in one sitting. Just begin. After completing some tasks, progress will follow.
2. Assess the task.
Divide the task into smaller pieces. It is easier to tackle smaller chunks than one huge task. For example, do you have a 10-page paper to write for next week? Make a plan to write 2-4 pages every day. The quality of your work is going to be much better than writing it the night before and you’re not even going to notice that you’ve reached the tenth page.
3. Schedule work sessions.
Make an hourly schedule for things you have to accomplish. Progress adds up and gives you confidence that you can finish the task. Set goals for each session, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t finish something, just move on to the next thing.
4. Eliminate distractions.
It’s so easy to get distracted by your cellphone or social media. Set your phone on airplane mode or put it to the side out of view. You probably don’t realize how much time you waste browsing the Internet when instead you could be doing work.
5. Find a (good) study partner.
I’m sure you’d love to hang out with your best friend, but what if she/he is a distraction to you? You have so much to discuss that studying goes to the side. Find someone who cares about his or her academic performance even more than you do. It’s good to hang out around people who inspire you to try harder.
6. Be reasonable.
Don’t beat yourself up trying to make your project perfect. People revise multiple times. Put your best effort and complete the task on time. You’ll have hundreds of project assigned to you during your career and not all of them are going to be perfect.
7. Reward yourself.
You’re probably your own biggest critic – give yourself a break sometimes! No one’s going to treat you better than you do. After completing a task, reward yourself. Get a latte, a movie ticket, call your best friend, or play a sport that you enjoy. Have an incentive, something to look forward to while you’re completing the task.
Procrastination might seem like a challenging battle to win, but you can do so by taking small steps, like finding the right study buddies. The most important thing is to begin, and you’ll get through the semester with flying colors!