As students, we all know far too well just how easy it is to procrastinate when we should be writing essays, or revising for exams. However, as we count down the days until exam season begins, it’s probably time to cut down our daily dose of YouTube from six hours to just one. It’ll be difficult, I know.
But, with some simple steps we can all get through it together.
Switch off your phone – For most of us, our phone is our biggest distraction. Even when we don’t need to use it, we’ll always come up with some sort of excuse to check our social media, or use the internet to find funny cat memes. So, by switching it off you could save a huge amount of time, meaning that you’ll get your work finished quicker and you can get straight back onto your phone once you’re done!
Don’t study in bed – Your bedroom is a place of relaxation, and your bed is a place to sleep – it definitely isn’t a study space. By combining the two together, you could create some problems for yourself in the long run. You’re likely to start associating your bed with the wrong things, and so you’ll probably get much more distracted while studying, and find it more difficult to fall asleep.
Set a goal, and tell others about it – Try writing a to-do list, and prioritise the tasks you need to do first. Once you’ve decided on some goals, and given yourself a general time-frame to complete them in, tell others about it. Once you’ve committed yourself to something, and told others exactly what you’ll be doing too, then you’re more likely to stick to it.
Don’t be a perfectionist – This is a bit of a hypocritical one on my part, as I’m probably one of the biggest perfectionists you’ll ever meet. However, it’s definitely problematic; instead of getting your tasks completed efficiently, you’re likely to spend your time worrying that what you’ve written isn’t good enough, or convincing yourself that it’s not the right time to start (when it definitely is!) Instead, try to think in the present, and do as much as you can, to the best standard you can, right now. Then, once you’ve completed some other tasks following the same process, you can go back and assess whether any changes really are required. Chances are, they probably aren’t.
If you do procrastinate and don’t get your tasks completed, give yourself a consequence
– Again, this is all about training your brain to think in certain ways. Tell yourself that if you do get distracted, and don’t complete the necessary tasks, you can’t eat chocolate for the rest of the day, or you can’t have a lie-in tomorrow morning…and stick to it! If you do this for a week or two, you’ll soon start to notice that you’re suddenly getting your tasks done a lot quicker!
And reward yourself! – See, it’s not all bad. If you do complete all of the tasks you’d planned, reward yourself with a glass of wine, or with watching a TV show. Whatever works for you.
Finally, make sure you take breaks – Revising for hours on end is no fun at all, and it’s certainly not a great way to avoid procrastination. Instead, try working for an hour, and then take a 15 minute break. This way, you can catch up on a quick YouTube video, make yourself a cup of tea, or check your social media, but get straight back into your work again once the break is up.
How do you stop yourself from procrastinating? What’s your biggest distraction?
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