We’ve reached that point in the year where we all feel a bit sluggish. It’s cold, wet and getting out of bed in the morning? I’d rather not.

For most of us major deadlines are still a little while away and exams… Well they’re ages away too or it at least it feels like they are. So where does that leave us? It leaves us doing everything that we can in our power to avoid doing work. In other words, procrastination! We’re all guilty of it and for many students it’s one of their biggest enemies but if you want to beat it, keep reading!

Take uni work out of your life for a second and if you have a job or play a sport take that out too. What would you do with all of that spare time? For the first few days you’ll probably feel great! All the free time in the world to do whatever you want whether that’s sleeping in, binge watching series after series on Netflix or doing whatever else you can think of to fill your time. But the likelihood is that you’ll soon get bored of scrolling through Instagram and doing the same things over and over again. You might even that you have less to moan about. Let’s face it, how many times have you moaned about an assignment or a reading that made no sense? Sometimes we need a challenge but when we’re not quite sure how to approach it procrastination likes to show its pretty little face.

But procrastination seems to have become a lose term. We all need a break so spending 10 minutes or so on your phone after an hour of study (hopefully reading this article), is not procrastination. It is procrastination when you do other things to distract yourself from a completing a task so much that it becomes increasingly difficult to start.
People procrastinate for different reasons but for most of us the ‘I’ll do it later’ mentality doesn’t do us any favours. There are people who are completely fine with being last minute. We all know the guy that did the 3000 word essay the night before or so he says so but here are a few things you can do to stop yourself from getting into a mad panic.

1. FIND YOUR PRIME TIME. I found I was most productive in the morning so I work on the harder tasks in the morning and save the evening for lighter work when I know I am more likely to get distracted.

2. BE REALISTIC. If you give yourself too much to do you could end up procrastinating because you don’t know where to start or feel burned out. Be reasonable so that the task feels accomplishable.

3. HIDE YOUR PHONE. As the saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Put your phone in your bag or hide it in a draw. Whatever you do, make sure you can actually find it after!

4. PLAN. Sometimes you look at an assignment and have no idea where to start let alone produce a 2000 word response. Before anything else put down whatever comes to mind. Gradually, you’ll get a better idea of where things are going so you can reassure yourself that you’ve made a start. It also helps to think of it in steps rather than 2000 words.

5. DO THE THINGS THAT YOU ENJOY. Yes do them! You don’t have to cut them out but instead, trying using them as a reward for example having a movie night after spending a few hours in the library.
It’s always easier to put things off but if you really want to make a change, ask yourself if not now, when?

Monica Jinabhai

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