Tips to Avoid Procrastination
Procrastinating? Avoiding? Sitting around in pyjamas, stressing about deadlines, while not actually getting work done? We’ve all been there. When exams and deadlines loom it can be overwhelming, and sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start. So, here’s ten tips and tricks to help you study, avoid procrastinating and stop beating yourself up!
Don’t overthink it- sometimes our minds race and come up with all sorts of problems and anxieties which make it hard to get working, but if you can let go of these thoughts and just get writing- even if it’s just a very rough draft, it will feel easier to continue.
Look after yourself- you’re going to struggle to work if you aren’t engaging in self-care. Have you showered? Eaten? Drank enough water? Get enough sleep? All of these things are vital to feeling able to do assignments. As tempting as the energy-drink-fueled all-nighter is, I can tell you from experience, sleep works better.
Meditate- on the topic of self-care, meditation and mindfulness are very useful tools to help you get into the right head space for studying. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you to accept and move on from difficult thoughts and anxieties, which makes work much easier to complete.
Reignite your passion- why are you studying? Why does university matter to you? Try and remember being that optimistic college student, just waiting to get into university and study your chosen topic. Why does that topic interest you? Is it going to lead to a job you want? When you remember why you’re doing something, why it matters to you to, for example, do well on an assignment, it becomes much easier to muster up the motivation to, well, do it.
Don’t overwork yourself- you might think that the more studying you do the better, but that isn’t always true. It is possible to work too much. You spend twelve hours staring at a textbook and, believe me, your brain will be fried. Take regular breaks so the information can sink in.
Come up with a timetable- having a clear schedule can help you plan your time and avoid procrastinating. It provides routine and allows you to strategize your revision, and, if you’re a geek like me, you might like to colour-code your timetable and make it pretty.
Don’t blame yourself if you have a slow day- sometimes you won’t feel up to doing loads of studying. You might find yourself vegging out on the sofa, looking guiltily at your notebook. That happens, and it’s okay. The important thing is to make sure you have a plan to make sure you don’t fall behind with your studies. Making to-do lists can help with this, and planning in time to relax will make you less likely to keep procrastinating.
Split up your modules- looking at multiple modules at once can be overwhelming, so splitting them up can help. When I was studying psychology, I found it extremely useful to focus on one module, e.g., animal psychology, on one day, and another, e.g., developmental psychology, on another. Focus on little chunks at a time.
It gets easier once you’ve started- usually it’s the thought of starting that long piece of work, or getting back to studying after a while, which is worse than actually doing it. Make a small start and the rest will usually follow.
Use multi-media methods- watching a video on a module topic is often easier than reading about it, so use that as an anchor to get started, then move on to the textbooks.