Procrastination happens to us all at some point – with deadlines looming, it’s easy to put off doing your work. Whether you’re a chronic procrastinator or you’re just having a bit of trouble getting started on your assignments this semester, here are some helpful tips on how to stop procrastinating.
Break down big tasks into small tasks. When you’ve got a mental list of complicated tasks to complete, you’re much more likely to feel overwhelmed and put off getting started. Try breaking up each task into small, manageable pieces and focusing on those instead.
Change your environment. If you’ve noticed that you’re not very productive at home, try going to the Library or a café and doing your work there instead. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated workspace that’s separate from where you relax – even if it just means using your laptop at your desk rather than in bed or on the couch.
Limit your distractions. With so much technology around, it’s easier than ever to get distracted from your work. Try setting your phone to airplane mode or using an app or browser add-on to limit your access to certain apps and websites. If you’re still feeling tempted to scroll, turn off your phone and keep it in another room – out of sight, out of mind!
Tell people about your tasks. Letting other people know what you have to get done and when creates accountability and will help keep you on task. Find a study buddy that you can regularly check in with and update each other on your progress. Hearing what they have accomplished can also motivate you to get your own work done.
Reward yourself for making progress. Meeting deadlines is hard, so try setting up a reward system for yourself. Whenever you complete a certain number of tasks or work for a certain amount of time, treat yourself to something you enjoy. This will keep you from burning out and motivate you to get through your tasks.
Avoid perfectionism. Believing that everything you do has to be perfect will often lead you to spend too much time on minor tasks or to avoid working all together out of fear that each element won’t turn out exactly as you want it to. Ambition is a wonderful trait but when there’s a lot to be done and not much time to do it, remember: done is better than perfect.
Written by mass communications student Kelsey Tang