You have a task or a piece of homework to get done and instead of tackling it straight away, you find every reason under the sun to stop you: looking for that sweet/crisp/biscuit which rolled under the bed (admit it, we’ve all done that), making a phone call, taking 20 trips to the bathroom… I could go on. What is happening? You are procrastinating. Although it may sound cool, procrastination is a strange phenomenon. Experts define it as having an intention to do something, but acting opposite to that intention by delaying it or doing something else. In essence, it reflects our perpetual struggle with self-control.
You may be thinking this is no big deal as everyone naturally procrastinates. Many would say they actually perform better under pressure. However, with exams looming closer and time being such a precious non-renewable resource, the habit of procrastination can be destructive, resulting in stress, missed deadlines and poor grades amongst others.
The good thing to know is procrastination is not innate (although it can certainly feel like it is!) but a learned response which can be unlearned. So, how can you tackle it exactly? Follow these helpful tips:
Recognise when Procrastination strikes
The first step in overcoming anything is to recognise when you are actually doing it. You need to become acutely aware of when you’re procrastinating; completing all the easy homework tasks first, sitting down to begin that really important essay and then immediately going off to make a snack, waiting for ‘the right mood’ or ‘right time’ to begin that coursework; these are all indicators of procrastinating.
Make a list of everything you have to do
By writing down everything you need to do, you’ll become aware of exactly what you need to do and consequently, better organised with all your work. This will bring a stronger urge to take action and get things done, instead of putting it off because it just seems like there’s too much to do. Plus, ticking things off is so satisfying!
Create realistic goals
Setting goals is a great way to give you a purpose and something to work towards. Make sure the goals are achievable; saying you’re going to complete that 2000 word essay in a single evening is probably not going to happen. Don’t set yourself up for failure as that will just make you less inclined to get things done.
Break work down into smaller tasks
Like with most things, breaking your work into smaller chunks will go a great way in dealing with seemingly daunting tasks.
Promise yourself a reward
Treat yourself after completing each task; that way you’ll always have something to look forward too!
By following these useful tips, hopefully you’ll begin to say goodbye to procrastination!