How to Plan Against Procrastination
How to Plan Against Procrastination
Procrastination: the great nemesis of the college student! Stumbling into procrastination happens very innocently, you tell yourself: “I’ve still got time,” “I’ll do it tomorrow,” or “Just one more episode.” Before you know it it’s 3:00am and you’re sitting at your desk, hating yourself for not starting your work sooner. You tell yourself, “I’ll never do that again!” but it is so hard to break a procrastination habit!
I too have gotten myself in some tough situations because I procrastinated, but finally, by my senior year of undergrad, I’ve come up with some tips that help me avoid procrastinating!
Tip #1: Get a Calendar
Procrastination can happen by accident if you simply forget when your assignments are due. To avoid this get a calendar or a planner and write down all of your pressing due dates. Once you’ve got all of your assignments written into your calendar, put your calendar somewhere you often look: perhaps on the refrigerator, above the TV, or in front of your desk. With your calendar insight, you will be constantly reminded of upcoming due dates!
Tip #2: Workload Breakdown
So now that you know when all of your assignments are due, you can consider how much work each assignment will entail. Then you can schedule time that you are going to work on each project. You’ll have to consider that some subjects you may be better at than others, and the work for those classes won’t take you as long as the work for your hardest class. You also need to be realistic about how long you can sit and work on one assignment.
For instance, if you hate writing essays, you won’t want to sit for four hours a day working on your paper. You could instead spend and hour a day working on your paper over the course of four days. You can create a daily study goal breaking down how many hours of homework you’d like to work and which assignments you’d like to work on. Planning to work on each assignment in advanced based on your personal study preferences is the first step to actually starting the work at a more reasonable time.
Tip #3: Prioritize your Hardest Assignment
Have you ever had a massive assignment due that you know you are going to be miserable working on, and you are simply dreading it? I certainly have! These difficult projects just make me anxious because it’s a weight on my shoulders that I just can’t get rid of until the assignment is finally done! I like to prioritize my most difficult assignments, starting on them the earliest, and dedicating more time to them than I put into my other classes.
This is helpful for two reasons: Firstly, assignments subjects that are difficult take longer than assignments for easier classes, and therefore need more time dedicated to them. Secondly, getting the assignment done sooner will save you from some stress! Now don’t go to any extremes and neglect your other classes to accommodate for one difficult class, just know that you don’t have to distribute your time equally amongst all of your classes.
Tip #4: Think before you Work
I am guilty! I have sat down to do an assignment, a day before it is due, read the prompt and realized I have no idea what I am going to do! Thinking about your assignments before you begin working on them will make the working process go much smoother. Got an essay? Read the prompt and consider what you want to write about before you actually sit down to write. Is it a project or presentation? Look over the directions and brainstorm topics you are interested in. Big test coming up? Go over the study guide or chapters covered on the test and take note of which areas you need the most practice in. If you have an idea of what you are going to do for each assignment, then you will be able to work more efficiently when you actually start tackling your workload because you won’t have to sit and brainstorm during the hours that you scheduled to work on your assignment.
Tip #5: Strive for an A+
When you are working on an assignment hours before it is due, the main goal is to finish, not to get the best grade possible. While scheduling your study time, plan for how much time and effort it will take you to get an A on your assignments. This will create a safety net. If you lose time because pick up an extra shift at work or another assignment took you longer than expected, or maybe you get sick, you have room in your study plan to lose some time and still get a good grade on your work. And if nothing comes up, you’re on the path to great grades! Your GPA will appreciate this extra effort! Again, planning for success is the first step to achieving success.
Tip #6: Review/Editing
A quick way to improve your grades: review and edit your work. With an effective study plan, you can actually finish your work early! I like to step away from my completed work for a day before looking it over again. For writing assignments, a day away will give you fresh eyes and help you catch more typos, and be more critical of your argument. For tests, coming back to your work a day later will give you the opportunity to see what you have actually committed to memory and what you still need to review before the test. Time off allows you to evaluate you work from a new perspective.
Planning is crucial to avoiding procrastination, but even more important than planning: executing the plan! The only way to break a procrastination habit is to take steps to avoid procrastinating. In the long run, avoiding procrastination will decrease stress, and improve your grades, which I think is well worth the effort!
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