Whether you find yourself fighting the urge to nap, watch kitten videos or catch up on your spring cleaning, procrastination is a foe that many students face. It creeps up on you and suddenly hours have passed and you haven’t even started studying.
But fear not, if you feel like you’re not making the most of your study time, read on for some tips to help you beat procrastination.
My personal favourite! There’s nothing like a looming deadline to get you into study mode. Set a timer for a manageable length of time and set yourself a target, for example answering five exam questions in 45 minutes. Tell yourself that you need to finish your set task within the time limit and you’re not allowed to stop the timer.
This brings out the competitive streak in some people – they don’t want their timer to go off without having reached their target. As you work you might feel yourself itching to go back to procrastinating. But remembering you timer ticking along will spur you on to concentrate better and focus on your work.
Conversely, you can set a timer for procrastination. 10 minutes to check your texts and once the alarm goes off it’s time to hit the textbooks.
Distractions are everywhere and it might feel impossible to get away from them all. Know what distracts you and get it out of your study area. I’m not just talking about the obvious things like putting your phone on silent.
Does the calendar on your wall lead you to wasting time thinking about your upcoming events? Put it on the wall behind you. Do you find yourself thinking about bedtime when you’re nice and warm? Open the window for a light breeze to keep you awake.
Keep your study area clutter free and keep only the essentials near you, everything else is a potential distraction. Studying in bed will make you feel sluggish and before you know it you’ll be counting sheep or doing something equally unproductive so sitting up straight at a desk is the ideal.
Let’s be honest – part of the reason we procrastinate is because studying is not fun. Reading the same thing over and over does get boring and not everyone can sit for hours working in silence.
Walk around your room as you study or read aloud. Some people (i.e. me) find reading aloud in silly accents helps them remember things better. Draw diagrams and make analogies to help you remember what you’re learning.
Work through past papers with someone else or explain topics out loud to make sure you understand them.
Watching videos online and then trying to summarise them from memory is also useful!
You’ve procrastinated the day away and it’s time for bed. You feel bad and are seriously considering starting work at an ungodly hour of the night.
This isn’t a good idea for a variety of reasons. Cramming in some studying when you’re tired and annoyed won’t be effective use of your time and chances are, you’ll forget what you read by morning. Secondly, you’ll either wake up late or feel ridiculously groggy all day.
The best thing to do is go to sleep at sensible o’clock and wake up to a fresh start. Do enough work early in the day to avoid getting yourself into the same pickle the following night.
Remind yourself why you need to be studying. It’s not just about getting decent grades to get your teachers off your back.
Your grades will have a huge effect on your future. If you have your heart set on a certain career or university keep that in mind to motivate you to study and achieve the grades you need.
Think about how proud you’ll be when your hard work pays off and how you’ll enjoy your much-deserved summer holidays after putting your all into your exams. After the exams are over you’ll be able to watch all those kitten videos guilt free!
You’ve read the tips, so come on, let’s get some work done!
Words: Ateka Gomaa
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