How to Overcome Procrastination
By Sephrah Luke
“Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Tomorrow morning arrives.
The assignment that you were supposed to complete yesterday still remains on your desk incompleted. You know that the assignment is due tomorrow, but instead, you spend the rest of your day binge-watching Netflix shows, face-timing friends, organizing your room, doing your makeup, and playing video games. You do everything else, but your assignment. Later, at 9:00 pm you find yourself furiously working at the assignment while regretting not starting earlier.
Guilty? Can you relate to this situation? I know that I can. Most of us are guilty. Student population surveys show that 85-95% of students struggle with procrastination. See? You are not alone! In this article, I will give you nine tips on how to overcome this evil thing called procrastination.
1. Ask yourself “why?”
Why do you keep on putting off the assignment? Is it because it's too boring? Too difficult? Not interesting enough?
For me, I usually put off doing my math assignments because it's too difficult and not enjoyable. Most people can relate and also do the same with their assignments.
To overcome this problem, think positively.
Yes, this assignment may be difficult, but doing it last minute will not make it any easier. If you start early, you can make and fix as many mistakes as you want, as well as ask the teacher an endless amount of questions.
If you find the task boring and not interesting enough, make it fun! Listen to music while completing tasks, work on assignments with your friends, take breaks when needed, and work in a space that best fits you.
2. Create To-Do Lists
“This tip again?!”
Yes, I'm sure you've probably seen this tip multiple times, but this tip can be really helpful when it comes to procrastination.
I don't know about you guys, but when I create a to-do list, there's always this sudden burst of motivation in me to complete every single task on the list. It’s satisfying to look back at a list full of checkmarks at the end of each day.
Of course, your list won't be completed every day, and that's fine! Just completing at least some of the tasks on the list is a huge accomplishment.
Creating to-do lists instills a sense of urgency in you, and will therefore encourage you to complete tasks.
3. Just Start!
Now this is probably the most difficult tip to follow, but think of it this way...If you start an assignment early you'll have enough time to ask the teacher as many questions as you want.
If you start the assignment 30 minutes before the due date (which is usually at midnight) you won't have any time to ask the teacher questions. You'll rush and may even get stuck which results in a bad grade.
What if your wifi cuts out? What if water spills all over the assignment instructions? What if your computer shuts down and doesn't save all of your work?
If you started your work earlier, you would've had enough time to solve all these problems. So, start assignments as soon as you get them!
4. Be Realistic
Don't assign yourself ten really hard tasks to do in one day. Doing this just makes you feel less motivated, which often leads to more procrastination. Be realistic with yourself on the amount of work you know you can get done. Doing this will increase your confidence and motivation. The more confident and motivated you are, the less likely you are to procrastinate.
5. Positive Peer Pressure (aka an Accountability Partner)
Now I know you're probably thinking, “Peer pressure? Isn't that a bad thing?”
In this case...no.
Having someone check up on you, to see if you've completed the task can be really helpful.
They will push and motivate you, as well as keep you focused. If you start to procrastinate they will be the one to remind you of the assignment/task that you're supposed to complete.
Completing assignments with a friend in your class can also assist you in avoiding procrastination.
Knowing that someone else is doing the same thing as you can be reassuring.
6. Break down tasks to make more manageable
If you have an exam to study for or a large project to complete, break them down into smaller tasks.
For an exam, dedicate some days to studying and some days to review. Section study days off by each unit. If you have four units within the whole course, study a different unit each week.
Breaking down big tasks into smaller tasks makes it less daunting and easier to complete your tasks, as well as prevent procrastination.
7. Put away distractions
Your phone, social media, Netflix, siblings, television, emails are all distractions, though some distractions are smaller than others.
If it helps, put your phone in a different room while completing assignments for school. This will help you stay focused on your task because you won't be able to see or hear your phone dinging with notifications.
Work in a quiet environment, away from siblings who can sometimes be annoying. For me, my siblings can be a big distraction, so I avoid working in areas they can be in.
Distraction leads to procrastination, so exit the Tik Tok app that you've been on for hours (I’m guilty of doing this too, don't worry), close the Netflix tab, put your phone on Do Not Disturb and open the document that you were supposed to start on days ago.
8. Reward yourself after completing each task
After a long day of doing homework, joining class meetings, completing assignments, what better way than to reward yourself than with a Netflix show, or cookies, or maybe even a Starbucks drink?
You're probably wondering how does rewarding yourself with these things help to combat procrastination? Well, behavioral patterns that are rewarded are repeated. To train your mind to overcome procrastination, repeat this phrase, and you will see a huge improvement.
9. Believe in yourself!
Believe it or not, you have the ability to overcome procrastination. All it takes is self-motivation, affirmations, and self- discipline. It's all in the mind.
Your mind is extremely powerful and you have the ability to tell it what to do.
Just think about the long term effects: if you complete this one assignment, it could bring your whole grade up.
Just having the belief in yourself that you can do something really makes a difference.
So, go and start that assignment!