The Dark Art of Procrastination

procrastination definition

Procrastination is something that I have mastered! Throughout my time at QV, I have told myself many times that I will not procrastinate. I always start out a semester with setting goals and expectations for myself so that I can avoid procrastinating my schoolwork or other tasks that I have. But even with those goals and expectations, it never fails that I procrastinate something throughout the semester. I think that this is something all college students struggle with. No matter how good of a student you are, you can still procrastinate, and I’m sure that you do.

Procrastination Cycle

I get stuck in the cycle of telling myself, “I can do this later.” Then later turns into tomorrow, which turns into the next day, which turns into me panicking and franticly trying to finish my homework assignment the night before it’s due after having two weeks to work on it.

So, because this a topic so many of us can relate to, I thought I would give you a couple tips on how to combat procrastination. Hopefully this will help you to stop putting things off until the last minute and in turn, help you relax a little bit when it comes to meeting your deadlines.

Do a little bit of the task now

If I can just start something, I recognize that it is not as difficult as I’d like to make it seem. Like most people, I have a way of psyching myself out and discouraging myself because I think it’s going to be difficult or too time consuming. But if I just spend even a few minutes looking over an assignment, or starting to jot down ideas for a paper, I realize that I’ve made a mountain out of a molehill. Once you start something, your brain will continue to think about it and it will be easier to finish.

Prioritize your task list

Prioritize your to do list

If you take the time to write down your to do list, in order of importance, then you can refer back to remember what is most important. Then you can start with the more difficult tasks first and get those things out of the way right off the bat. If you can get the more difficult things accomplished first, the simpler tasks will seem and you will be less likely to put things off.

Create an environment that promotes productivity

Coffee Shop Studying

This is a big one for me when I’m really trying to focus on something. Most of the time I will try to study somewhere that isn’t my house. If I am home I get distracted and start to think about all the things that I need or want to do there and I procrastinate the more important tasks. My favorite places to study are at the coffee shop, library, or outside. I also put my phone away! This is really difficult for some people, but your phone is a huge distraction. Try putting your phone on airplane mode, putting it in your backpack, or turning it on silent – whatever you need to do, just do it. Scrolling through Instagram or checking Snapchat will not make your to-do list any shorter and will most likely cause more stress in the long run. Once I put my phone away, I can put in my headphones and then just bust out all my work.

Set attainable deadlines

If you give yourself deadlines that are short and attainable then it will help to make your tasks seem easier to tackle. For example, if you are assigned a five-page research paper and you have two weeks to complete it, try completing it in increments. Set a goal of having your research finished within the first five days. Then set a deadline for having your outline done. Once you have your outline, give yourself a day or two to get your first draft done. That way by the end of the two weeks you have broken the process down into segments and you are able to feel less stressed the night before the paper is due.

Chalkboard drawing - now or later

Hopefully these things help you in learning to not procrastinate, I know they help me! Try to set some goals for yourself for the rest of the semester that will encourage you to be productive. That way, when the end of the semester rolls around, you are feeling prepared and ready for finals, rather than feeling panicked. Good luck!