Have you ever found yourself binge-watching a show when you were supposed to start studying for a test two hours ago?
Perhaps when you sit down to work on an important assignment that’s due tomorrow, you suddenly develop an urge to clean your cupboard or check out the new collection your favorite brand has launched.
If it sounds relatable, you’re a victim of the age-old nemesis of productivity: procrastination.
Students who fall prey to procrastination have consistently lower grades and diminished well-being.
The only way to beat it is by making a conscious effort to manage your time better and tell your mind it’s now or never. The following tips will help you stop putting things off till the last minute.
1: Acknowledge That You’re Procrastinating
Before you can tackle procrastination, you must admit it’s happening and be willing to explore your tendency to delay tasks without reason.
Here are a couple of things that may help:
- When you feel the urge to switch tasks or take an unplanned break, pause for a moment. Ask yourself why you’re diverting and evaluate if it’s genuinely necessary or just an attempt to procrastinate.
- Spend a few minutes at the end of each day identifying moments when you chose distraction over action. Over time, you might notice patterns or specific triggers that lead to procrastination.
2: Hold Yourself Accountable
Often, it’s the fear of failure or underperforming causing you to take extra-long breaks. It really helps to think of the bigger picture in those moments.
If you’ve managed to secure a spot in a prestigious institution like Nexford University, it’s because you have showcased potential. Each time you think of veering off course, remind yourself of this achievement and the future rewards it promises. Internalize the idea that you owe it to yourself to live up to this honor, and let that pride push you forward.
Remember, nobody is responsible for how you perform on a test or assignment but you. If you find it difficult to hold yourself accountable, ask a friend or family member to check up on your progress.
3: Designate a Quiet Spot for Study
The environment you choose for online study determines your level of concentration and, consequently, your academic success. Unlike traditional classrooms designed to minimize distractions, homes are hubs of activity, where one distraction follows another.
Hence, you must choose a quiet spot for study where you can concentrate solely on your studies. Make sure it’s comfortable, well-lit, and away from family members, pets, and television screens. Keep all your study materials organized and within arm’s reach to minimize breaks that often lead to procrastination.
As you consistently use this space, your mind will associate it with learning and productivity, making it easier to transition into a study mindset each time you sit down.
4: Know When You Work Best
Every student operates on a unique internal clock, which influences their energy peaks and troughs throughout the day. Some are night owls, finding clarity and creativity in the quiet hours of the night, while others feel the most alert during the morning hours.
Understanding your circadian rhythm can drastically enhance productivity and reduce your propensity to procrastinate. The idea is to capitalize on your inherent strengths instead of fighting against them.
Schedule the most challenging tasks or subjects during your prime time to better grasp and retain information.
5: Set Micro Goals with Deadlines
Breaking down tasks into smaller chunks makes them less intimidating. Think of them as stepping stones toward your primary objective.
Instead of thinking, “I need to finish this entire chapter tonight,” think, “I’ll read these five pages in the next hour.”
Not only do such targets seem easier to meet, but they also create a sense of urgency by setting specific deadlines. This combination of clarity and demand acts as a catalyst for action, driving you to make consistent progress.
6: Join a Study Group
Group study is a powerful tool for fighting procrastination in online classes. Knowing that others are relying on you or expecting you to contribute can be a strong motivator. The shared commitment means you’re less likely to procrastinate or miss sessions.
Added benefits of joining a study group include:
- Diverse Perspectives: Engaging with peers exposes you to different viewpoints and approaches to the same material. It can lead to richer discussions, filling gaps in understanding, and offering fresh angles you hadn’t considered.
- Division of Labor: For extensive topics, a group can divide the material, allowing each member to delve deep into specific sections. Later, when everyone comes together to share their insights, it ensures comprehensive coverage in a fraction of the time.
- Immediate Feedback: Stuck on a particular concept? Chances are someone in the group can clarify. This immediate feedback loop helps address doubts on the spot, preventing them from becoming roadblocks in your understanding.
7: Use Productivity Apps to Block Distractions
The internet is a double-edged sword. While it offers vast resources for learning, it also presents countless distractions for students.
Every ding, buzz, or notification can easily divert attention from the task at hand. A quick glance at a message can turn into hours of mindless scrolling if you’re not careful.
Fortunately, as technology has evolved, so have tools designed specifically to combat digital distraction. Consider downloading productivity apps to manage and limit phone usage to ensure efficient use of your study time.
While the flexibility and accessibility offered by online education are unparalleled, it also exposes students to a sea of distractions. While it’s only human to delay a task now and then, procrastination can take a toll on your physical and mental health when it becomes a habit.
It’s important to recognize when you’re drifting into the void of distractions and have a set of strategies to pull yourself back. Creating a study space, aligning your tasks with your body’s rhythm, breaking big tasks into smaller ones, joining study groups, and using productivity apps are all excellent ways to beat procrastination.