Written By: Clare (Subcommittee)
Exclusively for WIB.
Do you sometimes feel like you’re more of a full-time procrastinator than a full-time student? Well, whether you fully agree with this statement or you’re a procrastinator who procrastinates in diagnosing yourself as a procrastinator, it’s time to start adopting some key strategies to overcome this immortal university enemy!
Procrastination is a dangerous beast. Five minutes into starting an assignment and you decide to treat yourself with a quick flick of the Instagram feed. The next minute, you are stalking your friend’s brother’s cousin’s dog’s page who has a YouTube channel with a billion cute videos. Not to mention YouTube is always so kind in recommending the most random yet relevant videos! Top ten funniest baby laughs? A documentary on the most haunted houses in America? I’m all down for it! Wouldn’t your friend love this YouTube clip? So now you’re on Facebook sending the link to your friends… the list just goes on and on…
Three hours later and you finally get back to your assignment…until the jolly Facebook messenger ‘ding’ goes off as your friend replies to the YouTube clip you sent her earlier…
While this may be an extreme case (or maybe not!), many students fall into this trap. Today, we are here with FOUR easy tips for you to try over the upcoming mid-sem break that could help your procrastination addiction.
Eliminate the Distractions
So what actually distracts you? Is it your phone? Maybe it’s Facebook? It could even be the friend you decided to have a ‘study-date’ with but instead, you ended up talking about anything and everything but university work the whole time. If you have these distractions in your periphery vision or are readily available while you study, then you’re going to feel a greater temptation to procrastinate.
Thus, we recommend you become like Arnold Schwarzenegger and terminate these distractions:
- Take your phone away from your study area and switch it to silent
- Change your phone’s setting to allow no notifications from distracting apps
- Sign out of Facebook and instead turn your face to an actual book
- Get a family or friend to change your Netflix or social media account passwords
- Choose a friend who you work together well with. Hold each other accountable and stay on topic.
I can promise you that all the messages and tags you receive will still be there when you finish studying. Check out this link for some handy apps that can help reduce your phone usage.
Setting some fun rewards or incentives for when you finish your study is a magical tool! They can make you feel motivated to stay on track and finish work efficiently (but still to a high quality!).
Try writing down your incentives on your to-do list so you have a visual reminder. It could be something as simple as having your favourite takeout for dinner or watching the next episode of your favourite Netflix series.
By having these rewards at the back of your mind, you will know that any time used to procrastinate is just slowing you down from enjoying the actual reward.
Set Breaks with Time Limits
Why not take the activities you do while you procrastinate and build them into a structured, purposeful study break? For example, you could work for one hour and then actually allow yourself have a ten minute on YouTube. The trick is to not let these breaks drag on for longer then what you planned! Hold yourself accountable by setting a stopwatch.
Breaks are essential for effective studying. Studies have shown our brains cannot concentrate for long periods of time unless you train them to and they absorb information quicker when you allow breaks so the brain automatically recollects the content you just learnt and lock them in. So do something in these breaks that you actually look forward to. This way, you will go back to your desk feeling refreshed and any urge to procrastinate will be reduced. Over time, you should also find your concentration time span increasing greatly as well.
Procrastination can be a hard habit to break. However, just keep practising strategies of self-control and soon you’ll be working with optimal efficiency!
Eyes on the Prize
Ask yourself: what do you want to gain from studying and walking away with your current degree? Do you aspire to be a top executive in an accounting firm or partner in a law firm one day? Start your own design collection? Create your own business?
Whatever it is, chances are it requires hard work, dedication and extensive knowledge. Perhaps your undergraduate degree is only a small step along the way but it will nevertheless set the tone of your path. Feed healthy reminders to yourself on a daily or weekly basis and let yourself truly understand why you need to study – to help no one but yourself achieve your future dreams.
They can be baby steps! From completing this week’s readings and activities, to eventually advancing from a Credit to a Distinction in your next assessment task, and ultimately scoring first in a subject.