Do you put the ‘PRO’ into procrastination? We all procrastinate sometimes, but when it starts to affect your study and cause pre-exam stress because you haven’t done anything in the month or week leading up, it becomes a problem.
One of the biggest challenges with getting study done is not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Human motivation is highly influenced by how imminent the reward is perceived to be – meaning, the further away the reward is, the most you discount its value.”
- ASAP Science.
So unless it’s the night before the exam and you know you will be getting your mark the next day, you might find yourself easily distracted from the work at hand.
However, there are some simple tips and tricks that will help you stay focused and beat this nasty foe once and for all.
Acknowledge your procrastination
The first step to beating procrastination is recognising you’re doing it. If you’re honest with yourself, you will know when you’re procrastinating.
Be mindful and know what you’re doing when you procrastinate. Don’t get stuck in a time warp of watching kitten videos on YouTube. Being aware of what you're doing will help you acknowledge the fact you are procrastinating and allow you to refocus, improve your productivity and get on with the important stuff.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique aims to provide students with maximum focus and creative freshness, which allows them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.
The ways it works is that you set yourself increments of time, and take breaks periodically. To start with, work for 25 minutes straight, then give yourself a 5-minute break. Then start the clock again. After four 25 minute increments have passed, give yourself a longer 15 – 20 minute break and treat yourself to something nice – a cup of tea, a walk outside in the sunshine, a game with your dog.
Keep track of the work you’ve done by writing down the subject you are working on, and putting an x next to that subject, every time you have completed a 25-minute set. That way you can see where your time has gone – a rather satisfying feeling and one that a procrastinator may not be familiar with!
This technique is really easy to practice and can be started at any time, so give it a go and see if it works for you.
Positive thinking does help!
Often with procrastination comes negative thinking, and you may not even realise it is happening.
Rather than thinking “I don’t want to do this, time is going so slowly, I hate this subject” try thinking positive thoughts, such as:
“I’m learning something useful.”
“I enjoy being productive.”
“My future self will thank me for this.”
The power of changing your thought patterns will not only help you focus, but also put you in a much more positive frame of mind.
Goals and lists
The power of being motivated by your goals will take you a long way, and help you avoid being distracted by meaningless activities.
Write a list of goals you want to achieve. Setting yourself goals and dedicating yourself to achieving them will help you stay motivated and help you achieve the results you want this. Set realistic goals that state exactly what you want to achieve. Be specific and acknowledge the effort required to achieve that goal.
For example, you might say your goal is to achieve better marks in English this term, and the way you're going to achieve this goal is by increasing your study in English and seeking help from a teacher or tutor once a week.
Write your goals down and stick them above your desk, or somewhere you will see every day, as a reminder of what you’re aiming for.
With these simple tips, there will be no more excuses for procrastination in your household. Good luck, may the focus be with you!