Dear Students, Stop Procrastinating, Read This Article Now!
It is the beginning of the school year, you are fully recharged and your motivation is at its peak. You feel like you are in full control of your schedule. You are convinced that you will finally succeed in adopting healthy work habits. The nightmarish memories of last semester – the weeks full of all-nighters needed to complete difficult work at the last moment – aren’t that distant.
You promise to not put yourself in the same painful position where you find loads of excuses to uselessly postpone your work, to then have to complete it in a panic. So how can you eliminate your tendency to procrastinate, and as a result, to fall behind in your school work?
Here are our top anti-procrastination tips:
#1: Effective tools for optimal planning
Get yourself suitable and effective tools for working, such as an agenda offering adequate space to write your schedule, tasks and other important notes all at the same time. For each task, it must also be possible to write the level of priority and the amount of time to be allocated. Keep space to write down other ideas and thoughts that you don’t want to forget. A general rule is that your memory can’t retain more than six tasks at a time. Writing down everything that needs to be accomplished during the week gives you the best idea of available time for studying, working, relaxing or dedicating to your hobbies.
EuroE, EuroWE and PoloE offer a one-day-per-page layout and plenty of space to write down your daily tasks. KiboE et KiboWE are our largest school agendas, offering a week-to-view layout and providing lots of space for notes.
#2: Dividing: “Salami-Slice Strategy”
This method, illustrated by the idea that salami is savoured in thin slices, consists of dividing work into small tasks of five to 30 minutes. Completing a small five-minute task allows the procrastinator to encounter a lot less discouragement than a full three-hour task. For example, an assignment consisting of writing an internship report can be divided into various small actions: creating a new file, writing loose notes, preparing a table of contents, writing one chapter at a time, proofreading and doing corrections. This way, it is easier to get to work. It is strongly suggested to alternate unpleasant tasks with easier and more fun ones. At the end of the day, it is highly likely that adopting this strategy will give you very encouraging results.
#3: 25-minute timer: the Pomodoro Technique
This time management technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, divides the day into timed periods of 25 minutes. It is particularly effective against procrastination because it allows you to concentrate on one task at a time. As a result, you will avoid diverting your attention to less important tasks (e.g. email, social media) and wasting precious time.
You will require:
- a timer;
- a pencil;
- paper, a notebook or your agenda.
Here is a summary of the Pomodoro Technique:
- A pomodoro (an activity): For 25 minutes, measured by a timer, concentrate on just one activity.
- A short break: After the mandatory 25 minute period, give yourself a five minute break.
- Repeat: Redo Steps 1 and 2 three times.
- A long break: After having competed four pomodoros, give yourself a break of 15 to 30 minutes.
When ideas or thoughts come to mind while completing an activity, simply jot them down in your notebook or agenda without trying to tackle them right away. If a task takes more than 25 minutes, use multiple pomodoros. If, conversely, a task requires less time, simply proceed to the next one during the same pomodoro.
The success of this technique rests in your ability to be disciplined, to ensure that others don’t interrupt your work and to keep your smartphone off and your inbox, Facebook and other social media closed, if possible.
Visit the official site of the Pomodoro Technique here »
Here is a practical online timer to apply the Technique »
#4. Perfection does not exist
Forget the idea that your work and assignments must be exceptional. Concentrate on the actual demands that are required. Accept the fact that you will do your best despite fatigue or a lack of motivation. The classic excuse that “I am not in the mood for this, it is best to do it when I am in better state of mind” will largely lose its relevance this way.
#5: See the glass as half-full
Procrastination can quickly inspire feelings of guilt, negative emotions and dissatisfaction in terms of school or life in general. However, don’t forget that it is perfectly fine to not always be able to accomplish everything that you set out to. Each completed task is a small victory. Be proud and do not hesitate to reward yourself!
What the procrastinator does can be just as useful and important as the task that was to be completed. Accept that in small doses, procrastination can be positive and can make room for plenty of creativity. Did you know that an international day for procrastination even exists? It happens every March 25th.
Wishing you all a good semester!