II really have to finish this essay by tomorrow, but there are still a few hours left and if I really pull myself together, I can get it done quickly. Should I check Facebook again? Oh, this friend from high school I don’t really talk to just added 150 new pictures.I definitely have to see them now!
Oh yeah, I should check how much this exercise ball that I’ve wanted to buy cost on Amazon. Hm, they have an interesting assortment of exercise balls. I should compare prices. It’s important to do research before making any purchase, right? Oh wait, now I’m hungry. Let’s check and see if there is anything to eat in the fridge. Yeah, that food was great, but now I need a quick nap. After that I will be ready to study and write that essay.
After wasting your entire afternoon engaging in recursive and pointless activities, you realize that it’s getting late—now you are stressed out and have to quickly write your essay.. Does this story sound familiar to you? If this pattern of behavior is familiar to you, then you are probably a procrastinator!
I will start by…finishing this article later.
This is exactly how procrastinators, including me, behave. Ok, so all people from time to time avoid their responsibilities, but when you realize how much more you are complicating your life by procrastinating you might begin to take the problem more seriously. Procrastination can have adverse affects on your schoolwork and overall happiness. That’s why it’s worth disciplining yourself, especially as a college student, where your achievements and image are being rigorously judged.
Why do we procrastinate?
Why would a seemingly capable person put forth such minimal effort instead of just completing the task at hand? Why do you put off doing things on your to-do list until the last minute? Why panic and do less than you could or nothing at all? You might have a low level of self-confidence when it comes to accomplishing tasks, allowing yourself to be caught in an endless pattern of self-defeating behavior.
Too much of the typical procrastinator’s time is spent doing unimportant things, instead of dealing with the important tasks at hand. Time that could have been spent with friends or doing something fun is instead taken up with unnecessary panic and worry. While sticking to a more rigorous schedule and timely completion of tasks may seem unpleasant, ultimately it is the only way to avoid the stressors so common among procrastinators. Don’t sell yourself short on your abilities or compromise your goals because of your tendency to procrastinate—learn what you can do now.
Step One: Beat the Procrastinator In You
1. Visualize the consequences
Think about how much time merely thinking about doing something costs you rather than just doing it. Before procrastinating about writing an important essay, imagine losing your scholarship or other financial aid—think about the consequences of a lower gpa for your job prospects and future potential earnings. Associating the completion of tasks with your future will help you overcome any problems you may have early on.
2. Respect your choices
It’s crucial to set goals and develop a plan of action for where you want to be in the future. You have obviously made the decision to pursue your education in hopes of getting somewhere you want later in life. Be mindful of these decisions you have already made and be conscious of your desires. Achieving your long-term goals is ultimately up to you, now use this as the impetus to write your essay or pass that exam.
3. Make your to-do lists clear
And stick to them. Sometimes your college schedule can be hectic and this can be problematic for those who have difficulties with time-management. Start making a list of tasks to complete each day, and then do them. Tip: don’t make your to-do lists too long, because this can act as negative reinforcement when you don’t get everything completed. It’s important to start small and work your way up, gaining freedom and independence and breaking the habit of procrastination a little bit at a time.
4. Don’t make excuses
There is never an ideal time to complete a task you don’t necessarily like or appreciate. Conditions could always be more ideal; you could always feel better or less distracted or be waiting for some additional notes or etc. Unfortunately, we all have things we don’t want to do. You need to show yourself that you can do it. Things will change when you show yourself that you are capable of completing things on time. Until you believe in yourself, nothing will change.
5. Break up activities
If the activity you have to complete requires a lot of time, work on it incrementally. It’s much easier to work on a large project a little at a time than all at once. For example, try reading 20 pages from a book rather than the whole book in one evening.
6. Prioritize your activities
Procrastinators tend to find excuses. If you need to prepare for your exam tomorrow, don’t start cleaning your kitchen from top to bottom. Organizing your closet and arranging your clothes by type and color isn’t going to help either. Set an alarm clock for the exact amount of time you would like to study and don’t do anything else until that time is up.
7. Make your tasks fun
Sometimes you may tell yourself how much you don’t want to get started on or complete the task at hand—you end up hating it before you even know that much about it. You procrastinate for so long that later, when you begin the essay end up realizing that it wasn’t as boring as you thought it would be! You actually regret that you didn’t start sooner. Next time don’t discourage yourself before beginning an assignment.
8. Get your friends involved
If you are an adept procrastinator that is good at finding excuses, get your friends involved for support. Tell friends or family members about a goal you’ve set for yourself and ask them to hold you to it. They can help you stick to your set goals, and provide additional motivation. You don’t want to be someone that is all talk and ends up doing nothing, right?
9. Reward yourself for your successes
If you manage to complete your tasks on time, reward yourself! You started studying earlier and passed the exam with flying colors – do something you like, go out for a nice meal and don’t forget to enjoy the satisfaction that comes from scratching another item of your to-do list. Use your small achievements to fuel even greater successes.
STEP TWO: Focus on passing the tests
Many students complain that they spend lots of time for study but fail to get good results in exams. I had been complaining as well before I found the most effective ways to change the situation and improve grades. If you apply the following methods to your preparation process, you will notice how successful you can become. You should know the enemies of your success by sight.
Before you start to read these tips, make a small pause and answer one question: Why are you studying? Yes, it is important to increase marks in exams. But don’t forget that you’re also trying to learn things and get a good education. You are not an exam-passing machine. Even if you like pieces of paper with “A” printed on them, that’s not the object of the exercise. If you love a subject and like learning about it, that may be much more rewarding in the end.
Tip#1: Organization is key!
The first reason of my failure was that I didn’t utilize the time effectively. What is the solution? In general, student spends most of the time at college/university. For instance, my double-lesson starts at 10.00 in the morning. I am attending 4 to 5 lectures per day with each lecture being less than one-hour duration and trying to utilize the time gap between subsequent lectures. Then spend some time in the evening to revise the portion discussed. Continue this every day. In the final step, you have to find some time on the weekends to revise the portions studied in last one week. A good timetable will also help you. You may organize it in such a way that a long/hard subject takes more space than a short/easy subject. Remember, however, that all subjects should be studied.
Tip#2: Have an effective monitoring system
In order to raise test scores, I first establish a baseline. How do you do this? By testing, naturally. There is no way to get around this. Testing results will reveal what are your strengths and weaknesses. This will let you decide what adjustments to make and what to maintain. This is something that needs to be conducted on a regular basis so you can measure the effectiveness of the programs you want to implement.
Tip#3: Remember Your Main Aim
If you get motivated to study it will bring a positive effect on your grades. When I am motivated I find it easier to go the extra mile and do all tasks that need to be done to assure success. What is your motivation? Probably, you need the best grades for getting higher goals and qualifications. The right motivation will allow you to study a lot more focused and with more concentration. But don’t force yourself! You just need to maintain balance in the period of preparation. Learn to focus – without breaks and without additional stimulation. Start from 15- to 20-minute units. We know it’s hard to reprogram your brain. Doing so will prevent your having to start focusing again.
Tip# 4: Make small bursts, not marathons
It seems sometimes that it is possible to learn some particular subject in two days instead of two months. It is a mistake. You will not master the material properly. Divide the volume of work and conquer. Larger projects, such as research papers, field studies, and cumulative finals have to be broken up into manageable chunks. Spread the stages over a reasonable number of days. Note that a major crisis may appear toward the end. To avoid such situation I found the most optimal and time-saving method for me. I use the cheapest essay writing service. It is something a student can surely afford even with a meager allowance. It’s better to have a little extra time than to find yourself running around like a madman when your computer crashes at 4 o’clock the morning before a paper is due.
Tip#5 : Enjoy the process
Studying while containing fear inside yourself is a waste. Get rid of fear and any other possible bad feelings before studying. There is no short way to success. This is the first thing you should remember. For this reason, you have to make a great deal of effort. As soon as I realized this and got rid of all unnecessary thoughts, I started to achieve better results!
Fighting procrastination and passing tests with flying colours aren’t easy. You need to be determined and really stick to the goals you’ve set—good luck!
Want to read more tips? Check out our article about how to study better and 10x your studying sessions.