How To Stop Procrastinating During Deadline Season
Procrastination is an activity that comes easily to many of us, especially during this time of deadline season at university. Maybe you need to write an essay or revise for your next exam, but instead, you are binge-watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram for hours, or reading articles like this to avoid starting your task. Even though procrastination is a very easy trap to fall into (and even harder to get out of), there are a few ways to steer clear of it all together! Here are five tips to help you get out of your funk and start doing what you actually have to do.
1. Make a schedule
Creating a schedule for yourself at the beginning of the day or week is a good way to stick to doing your work on time and meeting that deadline. Decide when you are going to wake up, eat, work and have breaks, and, under your scheduled work time, decide what task you have to do so you aren’t stuck when the time comes to do it. It’s good to add in variation when making a schedule. Remember to add time for the gym, shopping or meeting up with your mates so that you give your brain a break from the work to maintain sanity.
2. Change your environment
If you feel you are stuck in a rut after lying in bed or on the sofa all day, it’s a good idea to change the environment you are in so you feel more inclined to work and meet that deadline. Go to the library or your university campus where other people are working. If you feel you’re getting nothing done in your room, set the living room or kitchen as your designated work area so that you have different spaces for work and downtime. Another helpful way to get work done is to meet up with a study buddy at the library or a cafe so that you can motivate each other to get on with your work.
3. Set breaks and rewards for yourself
Working for hours on end is draining, obviously. Remember to set yourself breaks to maintain motivation to work. The brain can only optimally focus for 45 minutes at a time, so after every 45 minutes have a 5-10-minute break scheduled. Grab a cup of tea or phone your mum, whatever your heart desires. Another way to push through the feeling of procrastination is to set yourself a reward that will incentivize you to finish your task. Maybe it’s going to the cinema with your mates, buying that pair of jeans you wanted, going out on the piss – these are all great examples of things you can do once you’ve finished your task to celebrate what you’ve achieved.
4. Set limits on your phone
Your phone is probably the most addicting thing keeping you away from your work, with social media, entertainment, and games accessible by the touch of a button. However, if you go into your Settings, you can set limits that will help you keep off your phone and stay on track with your work. If you go to Screen Time in your Settings app on your phone, there are a few sections titled ‘Downtime’, ‘App Limits’ and ‘Always Allowed’. Under these tabs you will be able to schedule time away from the screen, set time limits on certain apps and choose which apps you are always allowed on during your downtime (its good to keep the number of apps your always allowed to the bare minimum to avoid spending too much time on your phone).
5. Download an app to keep you off your phone
It’s a bit of a contradiction, downloading an app to keep you off your phone, but there are plenty of them out there and they really do work if you cooperate with them. Although there are many apps for specifically this purpose, my favourite one I have downloaded and use frequently is Hold. This app gives you points for the amount of time you spend not on your phone, and with the points, you can buy yourself vouchers for Amazon, Starbucks, Coca Cola and more. It’s a great incentive to stay off your phone, focus on work and reward yourself for having completed that task you were dreading.
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