Every student has, at least at one point in time, yearned to put off academic related activities for a while and just lay back. However, there are cases of some individuals who tend to do this more often than needed and develop a trait known as procrastination.
Procrastination, by definition, is to intentionally put off doing something that should be done. It is one of the leading causes of cramming amongst students and is one of the factors that could lead to academic stress and burnout. Procrastination is a naturally occurring phenomenon amongst human beings as the urge to slack off is embedded into our instincts, however, it would be better if one limits the amount of procrastination he/she does on a regular basis.
Some people procrastinate because they fail to grasp the idea of overlapping deadlines and feel like they have a lot more time than they actually have. While other people procrastinate almost immediately as soon as the activity was given as they have already been accustomed to the activity and thus tend to just cram it all together.
A common example of procrastination for those who are unaware is when you put off doing an activity which should be passed the following week even if you have no other academic activities to do. You become complacent and put off doing the activity due to the fact that you still have a week to go before it is due, but fail to mentally simulate an event wherein your teachers might give you more work to do which could give you little to no time to finish the previous activity given to you.
This may not seem serious at all, but try to imagine this event occurring during finals where most of your subjects have exams to be studied and you still have to do the final output for you to proceed. It becomes a tangled web of figuring out what to do first and finding enough time to finish all of them within their respective deadlines. And that sight never looks pleasant at the least.
Just as the concept invented by Edward N. Lorenz known as the “Butterfly Effect” highlights the possibility of small actions having momentous effects, the same can be said for the effects of procrastination to the individual who procrastinated.
The simple act of putting off a few activities to be submitted the following week could lead to an overly tight schedule which, in turn, could result to stress, fatigue, poor health, and an observable decline in academic performance.
Each of these effects could harm your body in the long run as the more you experience these effects, the more your body’s regenerative capabilities diminishes. You can also develop a bad habit of procrastinating not only academic tasks but daily tasks as well which could lead to a different array of problems for you and the people around you.
Now that you are fully aware of the rabbit hole that procrastination may lead you to, here are a few tips on how to avoid procrastination and become much more productive:
You have heard it over and over again and may or may not have listened to the tip of organizing the things you need to do, but this is by far, one of the best ways to start if you want to avoid procrastination.
List down what you need to do and when you need to do them, not when they are due. By doing so, you have created your own schedule for what you need to do and when you will do it as opposed to just doing it whenever you feel like doing it.
Never underestimate the power of a well-organized and properly done list of activities, as it is what often keeps you from slacking off and delaying the creation of your homework. Your list doesn’t have to be perfect if you are new to making one, however, it must be followed to the utmost best of your abilities.
Creating a time table is similar to that of the first tip. The key difference being that a time table is more visually pleasing than that of a plain list. You can also understand your schedule more as you can color code specific activities or subjects to your liking.
The goal of this is to help keep you off the mentality of “Doing it whenever I feel like doing it.” and replacing it with a “What should I do next?” mentality. By doing so, you can limit the chances of you putting off what you are supposed to do as you have a specific time period to do it and if you fail to finish it within the allocated time, then you may have to submit an unfinished report or essay.
If you feel like you still tend to procrastinate even after making a list due to the lack of an impending deadline, then you can add deadlines to your list or time-table. But here’s the secret ingredient to avoid procrastination: set the deadlines earlier then what was announced.
Nothing beats the procrastination out of a student than a fast-approaching deadline, except that the deadline you set is false and earlier than what was announced.
This encourages you to finish your work earlier than usual to meet your “deadline”. This limits the chances of you actually wanting to put off doing an activity as you create a false sense of danger using your false deadline.
The next tip we will give you to avoid procrastination is to prioritize the time consuming tasks. Time consuming tasks are what mainly cause students to feel disheartened and lose interest in making the activities to be done which could lead to procrastination.
By eliminating the time consuming tasks first such as making a 3D model of your city or writing a 6 page essay about John Wick and his dog, you can rule out the fun draining activities and enable you to do simple tasks with ease and efficiency right after you finish the time consuming tasks.
Yes, you can avoid procrastination by setting achievable goals. This is due to the fact that you give yourself something to look forward to. By doing so, you can then have more motivation to do and finish the tasks given to you by your professors.
If you also achieve the goals you set, then you also gain feelings of satisfaction and completion as you have succeeded in the goal you set. This will create more enthusiasm to your academic activities and thus prevent procrastination.
Overwork is often the other extreme end to procrastination. If you feel like you have been working too much, then you can take a few breaks every now and then to relax your sore muscles and give your brain a refresh period. This also limits the chances of you experiencing burnout from doing academic activities.
Taking a break every now and then is not a sign of procrastination. However, if you take a break too much and end up slacking off, then you have reverted back to the procrastination machine you strive so hard to overcome. Breaks should be taken in moderation and only when you really need them, and should not be a reason to procrastinate even more.
By taking breaks every now and then, you rule out the part of your brain which constantly tells you that you are tired. If your body is not feeling tired, then you are most likely to avoid procrastinating as you lack a valid reason to do so.
Another tip which can help you avoid procrastination is to reward yourself whenever you finish something. Yes, you may feel like a dog being taught new tricks the first few times, but the effects it will leave to keep you from procrastinating is worth the try.
Being rewarded activates the part of your brain which enables you to feel happiness and content, which might lead to a more positive approach on academic tasks. This, in turn, limits you from procrastinating as you wouldn’t want to put off doing something you enjoy doing. Plus, rewarding yourself for working hard is never a bad idea and will most likely yield positive results.
The last tip we can give you is to maintain the routine. It isn’t really a surprise if you fail to see results the first couple of days or weeks when trying to avoid procrastination. But it would be a good idea to stick to your routine and by the first months or so, you can start to see yourself doing tasks on time and avoiding procrastination. After all, it takes more than 2 months to form a habit and more if you want it to last a lifetime.
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