If anyone knows me, they know I have absolutely no capacity to procrastinate relating to schoolwork. I get my work done weeks in advance and still somehow find ways to stress out about them. But at least I’m stressing out about things other than deadlines. Regardless, I know that procrastination can be difficult for many people, so, I thought I would share some tips to avoid procrastination, from someone who has somehow managed to not procrastinate!
1. Keep a planner/ calendar
I keep a planner and it outlines all the homework I would like to get done each day during the week, as well as the weekend. I write this all down the Sunday before the week, so I know what is expected of myself before the week begins,. Whatever I do not finish on a certain day will either go to the next day or get added to the weekend. This has helped me to be more productive when I sit down to do homework because I already know what I want to work on and don’t need to waste time trying to figure that out, which could then become a form of procrastination.
2. Print the syllabus
All of my professors either give me a printed syllabus with a schedule that has all assignments on it or it is online. Regardless, you should familiarize yourself with it. I have it printed and with my work for that class so I can cross off assignments when they are done and know exactly what is expected of me and when.
3. Start to put studying for tests in your planner, not just homework
I used to always forget to start studying for tests early or forget to study for them at all because since there was nothing to hand in, I did not count it as an assignment and put it in my planner. You should count studying as an assignment, probably multiple assignments, so you can study more days than one, so that you will be sure to remember to study, and will not put it off.
4. Start homework the day it is assigned or at least look at it
I like to start homework the day it is assigned, but I know that will seem ridiculous to some people, so I would recommend at least looking at the assignment the day it is assigned. This will ensure that if you have any questions, you can ask them in a timely manner and if there are any aspects of the assignment that involve other people or perhaps going somewhere, you will have the time to work it out.
5. Have designated times each day to work on homework
I have a noon class and a four p.m. class every day, so I do homework in between those classes during the week. Having this routine allows me to allocate certain assignments for that specific time, as well as it prevents me from not being productive in between classes.
6. Take breaks
I like to multitask, so that means I have multiple tabs open and am taking a BuzzFeed quiz while doing homework. I try not to think of that as a bad thing. In order to prevent procrastination, every half hour, I give myself some time to watch youtube videos, take a break and do things I would do if I were going to procrastinate. Then, I can go back to my work and the temptation is gone or it has at least lessened until my next break.
7. Check in on long-term projects
Long-term projects can really sneak up on you, especially group projects assigned months in advance. It can be easy to forget about them and remember the night before but have nothing done. Also, these projects can be large and can seem daunting, making them very easy to fall into the trap of procrastination. I make a note of these projects and what needs to get done that would need to be scheduled. Then, you should work on them a little each week until it is done and the due date comes. But the most important thing is to not forget the project exists!
8. Make use of short times where you can’t do anything else
There are often these short pieces of time where you might not deem them long enough to actually get anything done, so you do nothing and play a game on your phone. But, these short moments add up over time. Ask yourself: “Do I really not have enough time to get anything done?” Chances are you can at least work on something, and that will be helpful in the long run.
9. Do the hardest tasks first
I try to do the tasks I have been dreading first, to get them over with. Once they are done, then the rest of the work seems less daunting and may even be more fun without a dark cloud hanging over your head. Also, you will feel much better about relaxing after a particularly difficult task than a quick and easy task.
10. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get what you wanted done
In the end, we are all human and we are all busy and have things going on in all aspects of life. It is important to remember that a schedule you set for yourself is not set in stone, and it can be adjusted if needed. The glory of starting earlier is that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t finish things when you wanted to.
If you are procrastinating something while reading this right now, I want you to know that you can work on stopping procrastinating at any time, it is never too late. I wish you all the best of luck! Leave any other tips that you have used down below or words of encouragement!