ASA How-to: Avoiding Procrastination

2 Oct

Never-put-off-till-tomorrow-what-you-can-do-todaySo your professor reminds you that your first exam is next week. It’s cool– you don’t sweat it. It’s eons away, and you’ll get to studying eventually. Besides, you have so many more important things to do, like hanging out with friends, going out to dinner, and shopping for you know, um, stuff.

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Fast-forward to the night before the exam. You had all week to prepare, and you’re sweating bullets now. You curse yourself: “Why didn’t I study some of this earlier? I’m going to have to stay up all night to get all this material down…I’m going to get absolutely no rest! I don’t have time for any of this!”

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This is what happens when you procrastinate. You stall, you get distracted, and you happen to have something better to do than the one thing that you should actually be doing. You top it all off by panicking and getting the necessary task done at the last possible minute.

Perhaps bringing in these bad time-management habits in from high school wasn’t such a good idea. This rough routine gets tiring real fast– especially now that you’re at the University level. But what to do?

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That’s where I come in! See the below steps on how to avoid or break the habit!


 

STEP #1:

RECOGNIZE AND IDENTIFY!

That’s right! The first step is a simple as that. Recognize your time-management patterns and identify when you’re procrastinating. Know when you are getting off-task and are looking for a distraction!

ALERT! You are procrastinating when:

  • You spend your day doing all of your unimportant tasks before the most important.
  • You begin to write a document and then open another window to check social media.
  • You check your mobile phone and text while you have a task in front of you (such as reading or writing a paper).
  • You wait for the “right mood” or “right time.”

STEP #2:

ASK YOURSELF:”WHY?”

The second step isn’t too hard, but it could take some good self reflecting to answer. Why is it exactly that are you procrastinating? Is the task really difficult for you? Is the task out of your comfort zone? Considering the root of the problem is a good way to avoid procrastination in general.

Common causes of procrastination include:

  • Laziness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Outside of comfort zone
  • Rebellion
  • Fatigue
  • Fear of failure
  • Perfectionism
  • Not a clear understanding of task

STEP #3:

BUILD GOOD HABITS

Get organized → Keep a planner with weekly goals or write out a daily to-do list; just stick to whatever you are most comfortable with to keep you on track with your goals in mind!

Motivate yourself → There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little reward at the end of the completion of a difficult task. It gives you something to look forward to!

Give yourself a brief break → This is crucial to avoid procrastination. Release your sidetracked energy on a quick nap, texting etc. and then get back to work! Don’t get carried away here though, you should give yourself only a certain amount of time (10-20 minutes max) to relax.

Remove what’s distracting you → Whether it’s your smartphone, Facebook, or the TV, shut it off and put it away! I know we’re all tempted to be constantly connected to the Twitterverse, but trust me, nothing major is going to happen in the next few hours! Give yourself a break from your social media distractions and you’ll surely focus better!

STEP #4:

GET A GRIP! JUST DO IT.

In the end, it all boils down to taking action. No matter how structured your plan is, or how good your strategy seems, nothing is going to happen if you don’t take the initiative!

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Cheers,

Leylah

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