Full disclosure: I agreed to make this blog post about procrastination over a week ago and it goes up tomorrow. And…. I am just now starting it. The master procrastinator right here. Me and procrastination go way back. We are old friends. In kindergarten I threw an assignment sheet into the trash because I had waited too long to start it and it was stressing me out. Throwing it away didn’t make the assignment disappear, but it did make me feel better.
Sometimes you just get to the point where you’ve waited too long and there is no chance to fix it. If you’ve reached that point then let it go, and do better next time. Learn from your mistakes. There are ways to overcome procrastination. Sometimes they work, sometimes you still find yourself in the mess I am in right now. So, be kind to yourself. If you messed up, remember that you are only human and that the end of the world really isn’t at hand.
I certainly do not advocate throwing away homework assignments. However, I do advocate taking a deep breath and keeping things in perspective. If you’ve procrastinated then the assignment is due soon and your torment is nearing an end. However, here are some things you can do to battle the procrastination demon.
You will be so happy if you do. Starting something can be the hardest part. If you have a big test coming up, set aside even a small amount of time (15 minutes? That’s doable, right?) every day for studying. If you have a paper to write, get started as soon as it is assigned. Even if you just write an outline or do some brainstorming exercises, getting something (anything) on paper can be extremely helpful.
A deadline is the procrastinator’s best friend. They can keep us on track if we let them. Don’t blow off deadlines, especially when you set them for yourself. That reinforces the idea that deadlines are unimportant and breakable. Trusting in your own follow through is important to developing confidence in your ability to be a productive person.
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
If you are having anxiety over an upcoming deadline, listen to that anxiety. It is telling you to be productive. Don’t watch any more Netflix!!!
We all respond to positive reinforcement. Give yourself a break, eat a chip in between each page of reading, take a five minute Instagram break in between each chapter. Whatever floats your boat!
Anyway, procrastination can be a lifelong struggle. There is no perfect formula for overcoming it. Trust me, I have tried. I take heart in telling myself that my tendency to procrastinate is a side effect of being a creative and sensitive person. This may be, but I am also capable of developing habits and skills that will help me work better and smarter. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
Check out the academic skills page on The Learning Hub website for more tips and tricks for successful studenting. We have a workshop on Procrastination happening next month, so be there, and beat your bad writing habits!