How Can University Students Beat Procrastination?
All people suffer from procrastination to this or that extent – it is a fact of life. It only so happens that students are among those who love putting things off especially at college where you have to perform a lot of time-oriented tasks.
Nature of Procrastination
Procrastination is a complex psychological phenomenon that can hardly be summarized in two words. The mechanism of procrastination usually works as follows: you are unwilling to deal with a task or activity. Instead of setting a time to do it and following through with your plan, you either put it off until the last possible moment or start early but waste most of the time getting distracted. Here are some methods to dealing with procrastination.
Cutting a Task into Smaller Segments
Most often, we procrastinate because the task seems too difficult and overwhelming. It is so big you don’t know where to start. Well, to deal with it, change its nature: break it up into multiple manageable tasks, preferably – the ones you can do in one go.
Stop Thinking Too Much, Just Do It
The task looks unmanageable and will take too much time; you think you’d better put it off until you can dedicate a whole day to it. Stop thinking and do it right now. If the task is really big it may take dozens if not hundreds of hours to complete – and you will never have that much time to spend on it in one sitting.
Kill Interruptions and Distractions
The best way to deal with procrastination is to eliminate the very possibility of getting distracted from work. Set a fixed amount of time every day that you will spend on work and nothing but work. Allow no distractions. Turn off your cellphone, don’t check e-mail, don’t watch TV, don’t go out for a cup of coffee or a snack, or chat with your roommate. Remember – after getting distracted you will spend from 10 minutes to half an hour to get into gear again, so don’t allow this to happen. If you are unsure about your willpower, start small and gradually increase this amount.
Do One Thing at a Time
If you have a lot of work, ask yourself: what task is the most important one? If I do nothing but this today, will I be satisfied with the results of my day? If the answer is yes – start doing it and stop worrying about all other things you are not doing right now.
Create Artificial Motivation
The results from achieving the task may be remote and abstract – in other words, not enough to motivate you to do it right now. So what? Create artificial motivation, treat yourself. Set a reward you will give yourself after completing the task or its especially obnoxious part.
Remember – procrastination is not only counter-productive, but also deadly. You live under constant shadow of undone work. Life that can be spent happily and productively is wasted in frustration and worry.