For Fight Procrastination Day this September, library student assistant Brennan Kress gives us some tips on how to manage our time and get things done!
We all struggle with this feeling. We all know what’s it like to want to push something off until later. Every morning, when the alarm goes off, the snooze button always seems more inviting than the cold world outside of our covers. As we are working late into the night the idea that the work would be done better in the morning slowly creeps into our minds as our eyes slowly shut from exhaustion. Homework that isn’t due until next week shouldn’t be worried about or thought of, until next week.
Now, we have all been in these situations, and we have all procrastinated. But we would all admit, especially as college students, that procrastination has come back to hurt us in more ways than one. Maybe we were late to class, or forgot to complete some homework, or after pushing a project off in time, we end up cramming in days worth of work into one long sleepless night of anxiety and stress. We would all agree, that to be more productive and effective, we must all work together to beat procrastination. But this is no easy task. Procrastination has become almost a part of our culture and fighting it is not a battle for the faint of heart. So, here are a few tips on how to beat procrastination.
Have you ever sat down to start a project, checked your phone for texts, Snapchats, or emails, scrolled through Instagram, watched one to two YouTube videos, FaceTimed a friend, gotten a drink and a snack, and then finally gone back to the project? Then you realize you spent a solid thirty-minutes to an hour doing nothing and now you don’t have the motivation to start working at all. You feel that you wasted so much time that you might as well not start at all, but merely put it off until later. Instead of allowing this momentary feeling of guilt to keep you from your task, forgive yourself and keep working. You still have time! Certain studies have shown that this self-forgiveness helps to cultivate a more positive, and therefore productive, attitude. And, self-forgiveness may lead to less procrastination in the future. So be gracious to yourself and get back to the task at hand!
We all know how easy it is to become distracted. Many times even the smallest noise can keep us from focusing in a classroom or in our dorm room. We are constantly being bombarded with questions and assignments. From teachers to friends, there is always something for us to look at or respond to. Now responding to a friend’s text or a teacher’s email is both good and necessary, but the danger can lie when we choose to do that over more urgent and pressing tasks in front of us. So, the next step is to remove distractions. Put your phone up for the time it takes to complete a task. You will be able to focus more and get more done. Then you won’t feel the guilt of not finishing your homework because you were liking sports posts on Instagram or watching an entire concert on your friends’ Snapchat stories. So, put away everything that could distract you and focus on the goal at hand. Allow time in your day for silence, so that you can study better and retain more.
Don’t Settle and Don’t Make Excuses:
Have you ever walked to class, knowing full well you have forgotten to do something, and on the way you try to think up an excuse? Many times these excuses fall short and we know they do, because we know in reality, we just procrastinated. So don’t make excuses! And this goes beyond excuses that you tell others. Don’t keep making excuses to yourself. “Well, I’m really tired right now, I’ll do it tomorrow.” “This is just how I am; I can’t help it.” We all have things we struggle with and procrastination is toward the top of all our lists, so let’s work together to cut the excuses and never settle. Always try to be better. Plan, eliminate distractions, forgive yourself when you don’t meet the plan, stop settling, and lastly…
Swallow the Big Frog First:
Let’s set the stage. You have been tasked with a Fear Factor/Survivor kind of challenge. In front of you are three plates. Each one has on it a frog. And these frogs vary greatly in size. The first in a small tree frog no bigger than the tip of your finger. The second is an average size frog small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But lastly, on the third plate rests the African Bullfrog, one of the largest frogs in the world, which can grow to weigh almost five pounds and be eight to ten inches long. Now that’s a big frog! You have been tasked with the very unfortunate task of eating all three of these frogs. Eating any frog is gross, but eating three seems unbearable. So which would you start with? The answer is to start with the bullfrog. By conquering the largest, most uncomfortable and unpleasant task first, the other two will seem very easy by comparison. When faced with series of tasks, take down the biggest, most intimidating, and most annoying or frustrating task first. In doing so, you may find yourself easily motivated to complete the other tasks. And when the largest project is done, the others won’t seem so stressful.
Beating procrastination is a difficult ordeal, but through discipline and a few helpful hints, we can all beat procrastination and become more effective and productive in everyday life.
*post written by Brennan Kress