Overcoming Procrastination

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Many students get overwhelmed by the rigor and pace of college, trying to balance their coursework, their friendship, internships, jobs….it is a lot to manage! It is easy to just push these responsibilities to the side for a moment, but that often slips into a cycle of procrastination. Here are some tips to help pull you out of that quagmire of procrastination.

Face your fears: Before doing anything else, we need to engage in some self-assessment to gain some personal awareness regarding why we are doing what we are doing. Take some time to think about why you keep avoiding the work you need to do. For most, it is to avoid mounting fear or discomfort, but the reasons vary.

Don’t fool yourself: Some procrastinate because they believe they perform “better under pressure.” Don’t fool yourself, when you are working under pressure you are in an anxious state which actually reduces one’s ability to retain information and be most creative.

Check your attitude/change your self-talk: We can really build a case for catastrophe, making the task at hand much more dramatic and unsavory than it needs to be. Do yourself a favor and look for the good in the task.

Break it down:We first need to break things down to manageable chunks. Smaller tasks can build upon themselves to culminate into the full final product and just like that, you have created a route up that huge mountain. Figure out mini deadlines to keep you on track, but keep it malleable, not rigid. Life happens and sometimes we need to make adjustments.

Take that first step: Just commit to 10 minutes and then reassess. Most of the time 10 minutes goes by quickly and enough headway has been made to feel invested in the task at hand. Momentum has developed and you are in the zone. Don’t overthink getting started, don’t wait for the “perfect time” because you will never find it.

Be realistic: Be realistic about what can be done in a day. Overscheduling just sets you up for falling short, getting behind, which can trigger the whole procrastination cycle we are trying to avoid.

Eliminate Distractions:This can mean many different things to different people. Think about what environment is best for you to get things done.

Deny and Reward: Figure out what you are going to deny yourself of until the task of the moment is done. Then enjoy the sweet reward.

Start with the hardest task first: The least desirable task is the one that takes the most energy and we all have a limited bandwidth of willpower. Tap into yours when you are fresh.

Finish what you start:Reach your small goals and then reach your big goals. Then sit back and relish in the closure. Since you managed your time well, you avoided a lot of stress, and can feel pride of your accomplishments and the superiority of the quality of your work. Now enjoy your restful night of sleep while your roommate is pulling an all-nighter. 

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