How To Stop Procrastinating
For all the procrastinators out there, here’s a list of tips that a fellow procrastinator has found very useful through the years to get her actually doing stuff.
Start studying from day one
I know you’ve heard this a million times, but seriously, before the panic of “I can’t possibly catch up with all of this’ kicks in. Once this happens, you won’t even want to try so you’ll just procrastinate even more. I know it seems overkill to study on the first day, but think of it this way, you’ve covered almost no material and it will take you no time. Also, it only takes 30 days to form a habit, I promise you revising every day becomes second nature after a while.
But I’m already in the middle of my academic year and I can’t possibly catch up!
I’ve heard that excuse a thousand times, from myself that is. So you can’t catch up? Well, don’t. If it’s a class where you don’t need to know the previous material to understand what you’re learning about right now, take it from that point and keep up with it. You can catch up on the previous stuff little by little when you have free time.
But it’s a cumulative class and I need to know the previous material to understand what the heck my profesor is talking about!
Watch some youtube videos on the material or go to Khanacademy. You just need to grasp the basics, you can perfect your knowledge on those topics later on, if you have time.
I just can’t get myself to open the book
First, what is it you need to do TODAY? Let’s say you need to study a unit that has x pages and you have three days ro study it. Today you will study x/3 pages. You get it, don’t just study aimlessly, give yourself a finish point. Then write down what you want to accomplish (it’s incredibly satisfying to cross things out) but don’t write more than 5 tasks (unless they’re really small ones) per day.
Now is when you find that you don’t actually want to do any of the things on that list, so what do you want to do NOW? Do you want to watch a youtube video? Read a book? Pee? What were you planning to do to procrastinate? Well you can still do it. That is, once you study a page (or x pages, whatever you feel up to). This can be repeated until you hit that finish point you stablished earlier. You can also add extra weekly rewards like ‘If I do all my studying this week, I can do x or I can buy y’ (think small stuff, x can be calling a friend to hang out and y can be a color pen). But remember, just as important as getting that reward if you do your work is NOT getting the reward if you DON’T do the work. I don’t mean like don’t indulge if you haven’t finished one or two tasks, but, if you’ve been slacking all week yet you get the reward anyway, what your brain understands “It’s ok, I don’t actually need to work”.
I just want to lie on my bed for a bit
Yes, studying on your bed is awful and you should avoid it. But you know what’s worse than studying on your bed? Not studying at all. If you’re like me and sometimes you just randomly get these urges in the middle of the afternoom to lie on your bed ‘for a bit’ and then you fall asleep, bring your study materials to your bed. DON’T lie down, just get into a slightly reclined sitting possition. I find that this kind of tricks your brain into thinking that you’re resting but you can still get work done.
I have to write a paper, not study
was planning on telling you that I have literally no tips for writing
papers and lab reports (these in particular are the bane of my
existence, I literally feel such hostility towards them that I
will refuse to even look at the document
I’m sure it has nothing to
do with being a failed writer) BUT luckily I’ve found something that
kind of works. So, forget about your paper for a minute, open a text
document, and just WRITE. You can literally write about whatever -
your day, how adorable your pet is, or a random story
that makes no sense whatsoever. Force yourself to write for about
three minutes. Now look back at your paper. I find that once I’ve
started writing, I am a lot more willing to keep doing it, even if
it’s not about the same topic. This may not work for some people
though. Also, write a SUPER rough outline or just bullet points of
what you want to say like “Then we add HCl. Later decantation.
Test for acid pH. Finally filter and evaporate”. Expanding on
something is much easier than writing it from scratch.
Clean you desk the night before
I promise having a clean space to put your books on will motivate you the next day.
And finally, a little tip from a recent experience - YOU’RE GOING TO WISH YOU HAD DONE MORE
Personally, every time “I can just cram for this” even crosses my mind, I remind myself of how stupid I felt last semester when it came to finals and how badly I wanted to go back in time and beat past me to a pulp. But also, I remind myself of how thankful I was to past me for every little thing that she HAD studied because it was one less thing to worry about. So, when you want to slack off, think of your future self thanking you for not doing so.
So, with this advice in mind, go hit your books right now and start becoming a better version of yourself!