Procrastination Part 2: How to Resolve It
In my last post, I discussed some reasons why you may procrastinate. You may not have thought about or were not aware of these potential obstacles. My goal of this post is to share some strategies for dealing with procrastination. Some important things to keep in mind are your attitude, behaviors, and time.
Many students struggle with a lack of motivation when completing tasks for a class. Several ways to change your attitude include the following (Oregon State University, 2012):
- Importance: Take a second and think about why this assignment or exam matters.
- Curiosity: The class may not be in your major, so it can be difficult to get motivated about the material. Try to make connections to your other classes, or try to find a topic covered within the class that you want to learn more about. For instance, when I took a Nutrition class, I was not very excited about it. However, when I saw the connections the course had to Psychology and well-being of the body, I found it more interesting.
- Motivation: Find something (e.g. statement or a picture) that motivates you. For me, I find music to be incredibly motivating.
Do something! The hardest part is really getting started (University of New Hampshire, n.d.).
- Start Now, Not Later: Take 10 minutes to really read through/preview the assignment or begin organizing your notes. After the 10 minutes have passed, see if you can continue on for another 10 minutes. You can do it!
- Say No!: You have a plan to work on your research paper, but then a friend calls asking if you want to go out. Do not change your plans. Rather, offer a different time that you two can get together. Obviously, there are some circumstances out of our control, but you can try to minimize the occurrence of those interruptions.
- Reward Yourself: After you have accomplished your goal, reward yourself (e.g. working out, dinner with a friend, etc.). Keeping those rewards in mind will keep you on task.
One way to resolve procrastination is to be mindful of your time. How are you using your time and how can you make it the most productive (Oregon State University, 2012; University of New Hampshire, n.d.)?
- Planning: Active planning can make the difference between completing a task early versus rushing to finish it last minute. When you receive your syllabus, make note of the important dates. Make sure you are checking your planner (or calendar) daily to remain aware of upcoming events. Plan a time to start the paper several weeks in advance. If you schedule a time to start it, you will be more likely to do it. However, also plan time for breaks, and how long those breaks should last (e.g. taking 6 hours to marathon Law and Order: SVU is probably not a good idea).
- Make Studying A Part of Your Schedule: Rather than deciding to study when you get home, maybe staying at work or going in early before you have to start work may be more effective.
- Don’t Try to Do It All: You can’t get everything done in one sitting. Set a timer or set a manageable goal (e.g. read for 30 minutes) which will get you started. While you may not have the whole assignment done, continually doing this will make the assignment/studying feel more do-able.
I hope these tips provide some help in reducing your procrastination.
- Oregon State University, Academic Success Center (2012). Motivation techniques.
- University of New Hampshire, Center for Academic Resources and Student Support Services (n.d.). Tackling procrastination: Changing habits.