By Avani Papadopoulos
We all procrastinate, you can’t deny it. Then, we all complain that we went to sleep late last night because of a soccer game or too much homework. Is that always the case though? What are the chances that it was because you chose to procrastinate too much and that’s why you’re tired now? How can we draw the lines and get ourselves to do the work we don’t want to do?
First, you have to find the reason you’re procrastinating. Is it because it feels too much like a chore, or you think that you have better things to do? Are you feeling too overwhelmed, disorganized or tired? Maybe the answer is simple: that you just don’t care?
Well, you’re going to have to reshape your way of thinking completely and look at how making a change will benefit you, so you do have to care at least a little bit in order to successfully manage your procrastination habits. Biggest key to help: make sure that you have something to look forward to at the end of the day after you’ve finished all your busy work.
We all want to finish our work fast and know that we did a good job doing it, but according to Psychology Today, our high expectations aren’t the problem. It’s the connection we make between those expectations and our own self standards that creates a doubt of whether we are good enough or not. “Perfectionism and procrastination are linked, but it’s not necessarily the sky-high standards that slow you down, but the sky-high standards mixed with a belief that your performance is tied to your self-worth. That combination can grind you to a halt.” Therefore, you shouldn’t just expect a grand outcome after doing your work efficiently one time, but instead work on improving slowly while not letting a setback define who you are.
Using a clock to feel less disorganized can be really helpful. Time yourself how long it takes to do homework for each subject and try not to procrastinate while doing so. Timing yourself will help you estimate how long it should take to do homework each night, so when you have the timer set, it should give you an incentive to move at the pace you know you can work well at.
Another way is to make the most of your schedule, at school and at home. Writing it down may help as well if you can’t keep track of everything mentally. It’s also more definitive and effective if you write it down. Use a school study hall if you have one and get the hard stuff done first. Making the most of your time in school means less homework for home, remember that. Even simply taking notes and paying attention during class would mean that you don’t have to spend as much time studying for a test after school.
When studying for a test, pre-plan. If you know it’s a lot of material that you’re going to have to go through repetitively, don’t save it all for the last minute! Set deadlines if you know you work better under pressure. If you have to, start studying a week before, few minutes each night. Use weekends to your advantage if you can.
Staying at school and getting your work done there can also be useful. School is a nice environment to feel productive in, so getting all your work done there and then being able to relax at home may be a helpful solution.
However, make sure that whatever environment you’re in it’s not stressing you out or distracting in any way. Keeping your phone and other technology on silent would be a smart choice. If music distracts you, just don’t listen to it. Make sure you’ve eaten so that you can’t use the excuse “I’m hungry” while you’re working. If you’re one of those people who gets hungry easily, keep some snacks close by.
Being tired doesn’t help us move faster either. Taking naps and not going to sleep late will ensure that you will feel more ready for any boring classes coming your way. If it’s late and you’re not getting at least eight hours of sleep, then do the rest of your work in the morning. It’s easier to feel more productive in the morning after you’ve gotten some rest. Not breaking the habit of turning in late is the worst thing you can do.
Sometimes though, we can’t fall asleep. Listening to your breathing (as weird as that sounds) or some music, not looking at the clock, exercising every day, not keeping your electronics nearby, and not eating a big meal before going to bed can all be really good things to try if you aren’t already.
Don’t forget, it’s okay to take short five minute breaks every hour! It’s good to work in increments. If you really feel stressed out, just take a short break. It’ll slow you down if you’re unfocused and not in the mood for getting any work done.
Skipping out on extracurriculars sometimes is okay as well. You don’t have to lose your commitment to them, but if you need a break occasionally, don’t be afraid to take one. It won’t kill you!
Because studying can seem like a chore, doing it with friends may help keep you more focused. For others, it may not. Ask for help when you need it, don’t waste hours trying to figure something out on your own when you can just phone a friend or go to a teacher after school for some help.
In addition, doing something fun before settling down for homework time can ease the mood and help you work faster. Any form of exercise is a great way to keep you in control and get tired or negative energy out.
According to Collegexpress, you should tell someone about these goals. “It’s easy to forget about assignments or put them off if you’re the only person holding yourself accountable. If you really want to get something done, tell a friend or family member. Now there is someone holding you responsible for your goals. You can’t back out or slough it off. As an added bonus, you also have someone to celebrate your victories with, no matter how small.”
Again, planning will only get you so far. Planning is the first step, but you yourself have to make the actual effort to take charge. Not feeling the urge to procrastinate will only feel smaller until you’ve fallen into a healthy habit of doing things consistently and correctly, so don’t stress if something falls out of place.
It’s only partially true what they say: that “practice makes perfect.” Practicing is really just failing and trying again until you get it right, nothing’s perfect. We spend seven hours at school each day for 180 days, make the most of them!
Photo courtesy of Psychology Today