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I took a gap year before starting university, but instead of travelling, like most, I got a job in retail. My brain cells weren’t subjected to any strain whatsoever. A typical daily duty was to advise the best products for a customer’s hair type. Inevitably, due to the lack of mental stimuli my brain started to rot. Not even the nicest smelling shampoo could disguise the fetid stench. I couldn’t be keener to begin university and start exercising my brain again.
Freshers’ Week whizzed past, my lectures commenced and I nearly fainted. Was it because of an attractive course-mate, sauntering past me in a lecture theatre? Nope. A lecturer announced, ‘the average reading per module, a week, is 700 pages’. A WEEK? So swoon I did, and Victorian smelling salts would have done nothing to revive me.
Initially I diligently read my set reading with great enthusiasm. However, after hundreds of pages, my curdled brain and sore eyes begged for recourse. Procrastination then became my routine du jour; frequent naps, an obsessive need to hoover, and YouTube marathons took over my life.
This stubborn habit I formed was worrying and I felt awfully guilty. To help break this unhealthy cycle I enlisted my friends and family for tips to battle the urge to procrastinate.
Here’s 5 Great Tips:
1. List and schedule
It may seem silly, but a simple list really helps. Write down everything you need to do for the day, week, even month if you want to. For example:
– Do laundry
– Write case brief
– Eat a bag of Haribo
– Rock climbing
You get the point. It doesn’t matter if the tasks are inane or important. Writing a list helps you physically see what you need to do. It can even be cathartic! Things you-know-you-need-to-do that lurk deep in your mind could be distracting you.
After making a list, create a weekly schedule, arranging the tasks you need do every day. Prioritise important tasks to be done earlier in the week. However, remember none of the above will be effective unless you are disciplined with your schedule. You will feel great when you get into the routine of completing your set tasks.
2. Remove distractions
Are you guilty of mindlessly surfing the internet ad nauseam or are you glued to your smart phone and all its app-y wonders? I know that it is incredibly easy to get distracted by the lure of technology especially when you have something-you-really-ought-to-do-but-can’t-be-arsed-to-do. The best thing is to switch off all tempting tech gadgets and concentrate on getting your work finished first.
3. Give yourself a break
Don’t try to aggressively cram everything without allowing yourself sufficient rest. Schedule regular breaks during your study – get some food, stretch, meditate or take a refreshing stroll. Taking regular breaks will help you avoid burning out.
4. A lil’ treat never hurt nobody
What are a few small joys in your life that you love? Is it a caramel latte at Costa? Or perhaps it’s playing Call of Duty on the Xbox with your mates? If you accomplish the task you set, then treat yourself, relish the moment and don’t feel guilty.
My friend Carly suggested I allow myself a sweet every time I finish reading a double page of case reading. I personally love this idea, my waistline, not so much.
5. Just do it
Of course if you did this you wouldn’t be reading an article to prevent procrastination! In all seriousness, I cannot stress the importance of doing a task ASAP, as opposed to putting it on the back burner. Chances are the longer you leave it more things will pile up, which will lead to an even bigger workload and undue stress.
Try a few of these tips and I am certain you’ll procrastinate less. Even if it’s just a wee bit less than usual…