If you’re a student, you’d have been there – rattling your brains for things to say as your deadlines loom closer, and finding the excuse to do anything but work. However, as all students will come to realise, university is not the kind of place you’ll want to be procrastinating, as deadlines can pop up here, there and everywhere and before you know it – you’re pulling all nighters in the library wondering how you ever got to this point.
Fear not, there are plenty of ways to shake off your study procrastination and find the balance between study and social life (and yes, it can be done).
Timetables are your friends
Drawing up a timetable of your general week schedule is the best thing you can do when starting a new year at uni or a new semester. If you can plan when you’re in uni, work and doing other activities (such as societies or clubs) then you’ll quickly see the amount of free time you have (and it’ll be more than you expect).
Now that you know your free time – it’s time to allocate it accordingly. Don’t go overboard and cram study time in to all of your free space else you’ll end up not sticking to it, either that or you’ll burn yourself out and we don’t want it to result in either of these things.
I tend to start with 1/2 afternoons at the start of the year, and then progress to 3/4/5 afternoons or mornings as my deadlines get closer – I always make sure I’m working as I go along to make sure I’m not having a last-minute meltdown in the library at 11:30pm.
And so are ‘to do’ lists
To do lists – contended as one of the biggest forms of procrastination – but actually, if used right can actually help bust it completely. If you can put to do lists together at the start of every day, week or even just monthly then it can really help lay out exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it.
Not only that, but ticking things off proves very therapeutic and motivating – apparently (i’m speaking on behalf of personal opinion here).
My tip would be to get some weekly planners, I picked mine up from the start of the year from PoundWorld and at the start of every week I write down what I have planned for that week, my to do list, urgent things that I need to do and any e-mails/calls I need to make. To put it frank, they’ve been my saving grace in third year and have made sure I never forget a thing.
Work in a suitable environment
If you can work at home, thats great. But, if you’re one of the more easily-distracted amongst us then you may want to re-consider where you’re studying.
You’ll need to find a place where you’re comfortable to work and one that won’t let your mind wander. Most people would naturally navigate to the library but that may not be the best place for you either, with a lot of people around it can be far too easy to let your mind drift and focus on what they’re doing rather than what you’re doing.
Why not try somewhere completely different such as a quiet area in your university or even somewhere outdoors in the warmer months. Me and my friends often went down to revise in St. Johns Gardens in Liverpool last year and it meant we could enjoy the sun as well as be productive (a literal win-win situation).
Break your work down
When you’re sat in front of 5 assignments it may seem really daunting, however if you break it down they’re actually really not that bad.
Why not try the tactic of writing a section for each assignment per day/study session, or a certain amount of words for each one every day. It won’t seem like tons of work at the time and in no time at all you’ll find yourself near finishing without the stress of thinking am I ever going to finish this?
But be rational – don’t get in to one of those ‘i’ve done 10 words I deserve a break’ habits because ultimately, you’re going to end up in a predicament when you’ve done more relaxing than working and now you’re aboard a speeding train towards deadlines with not much to show for your time.
Instead, have something to look forward to. Say, if you’re spending an afternoon in the library make sure you have something to look forward to when you go home, whether that be a good dinner, a trip out or literally something as simple as spending some time with friends.
Looking forward to something is proven to be a great motivator and even better when that something to look forward to is in the foreseeable (and realistic) future.
Don’t throw yourself in at the deep end
Always start easy and it’ll never seem so hard. If you start working on the really tough things first then the chances are, you’re going to lose your motivation pretty quick.
Instead, by getting all the easy jobs done first you not only get a chunk of your work done, but you also set yourself up to finish the not-so-easy parts.
If you mix this tactic with the ‘doing little chunks of your work at a time’ tactic then you’ll be well on your way before you know it and may very well have seen the back of procrastination for good.