Procrastination: How to Control a Student’s Worst Enemy

There’s something almost natural about procrastination. It’s as if it’s the human default option whenever we encounter an obstacle of any kind. It does tend to be more pronounced however with university students. It isn’t even a stretch to say that procrastination is a student’s worst enemy. It’s often the reason why one student gets A’s, while another gets C’s. At the extreme, it could also be the difference between earning a degree and dropping out.

How do you control procrastination?

The Psyche Job: Envision How Good It Will Feel When The Job Is Done

Whenever there is a major project, students often focus their minds on how bad it will feel to get started on the task. Turn that around. Before you even get started, envision how good it will feel when the job is done.

That may sound like overkill, but sometimes you need to paint a picture of the end product in order to get yourself motivated to even start. If you can, the project may not seem nearly as difficult. Some students seem to have this concept mastered. Typically, they’re the students who get A’s.

Creating The Right Environment

In order to finish a difficult task, you often have to put yourself in the right physical environment. That may require leaving a noisy dorm room, in favor of a quite space in the library. You should find a place where you can go and focus completely on any major projects that you need to complete.

Related: Carving Out More Time to Study

This isn’t  just so that you will have a place to concentrate, but also because it eliminates the distractions that may feed into your desire to procrastinate.

“Sitting Down Power”

I learned this concept from an audio presentation by Irene Kassorla, psychologist, author and motivational speaker. She said that in order to accomplish anything important, you need to have the ability to sit down and get it done.

That probably requires some measure of will power, similar to what it would take to quit smoking or go on a diet. But if you can master it, it’s an excellent tool that will benefit you for the rest of your life. It’s about disciplining yourself that anytime you have a major project, your response should be to sit down and work on it until it’s completed.

Do The Most Difficult Tasks First

Most projects and assignments can be broken down into subparts. There will be easy parts, and difficult ones. Do the difficult ones first. Once you do, the rest of the project will seem like a piece of cake. If it means spending the first few hours that you devote to the project on the difficult task, so be it. Once that hurdle has been overcome, the project won’t seem nearly so difficult anymore.

Related: Using Time Management To Reduce Stress

Getting Something Done Is Better Than Getting Nothing Done

If you’ve ever heard of the concept of writers block, you probably also know that it can apply to just about any human endeavor. But as a writer myself, I’ve found that the best way to overcome this is simply to get something done. Once you do, you’re in a position to move forward.

Simply waiting for the writers block to pass is not a strategy. It sounds simplistic, but the only way to get a job done, is to get the job done. There’s no magic moment when it all comes into focus.

If you’re looking at a major project, and procrastinating in getting it started, just take a piece of the project and start working on it. It doesn’t need to be perfect – whatever you do complete will be the foundation for the rest of the project.

Get Help With Any Obstacles

Often the reason for procrastinating is because the project contains a significant obstacle that you don’t want to face. If you don’t feel that you can handle it, then your hesitation is totally justified. But lack of action isn’t.

If there is an obstacle you feel you cannot handle on your own, then get help from someone else. It could be another student, your professor, a professor in the same department, the help center or, if you can afford it, even a tutor.

An obstacle is something that may challenge you, but it should never stop you from moving forward. You’ll be facing them all of your life, so now is an excellent time to be working on a strategy for dealing with them. Getting help is usually the best way.

View The Task As An Irritation That Needs To Be Removed From Your Life

Once again, we can play into the psychology of procrastination. We will often complete projects if we find them sufficiently irritating that we just want to get them done, and get on with the rest of our lives.

View any project that you need to complete – and especially the ugly ones – as the irritation you want to clear out of your path as soon as possible. Once you begin seeing projects as irritations – rather than as “projects” – the sooner you will want to get them done.

Is procrastination a problem in your life?

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