Life is difficult when you’re a hardcore procrastinator stuck in the midst of finals week. I know the feeling all too well, as I have all my final papers and tests due next week, and I still haven’t started (I decided to write this post instead)! However, I will have the whole break to reflect on my experience … Let’s get down to the meat of this post.
Ashley’s Finals Survival Guide for Procrastinators
1. Be organized. Procrastination isn’t so bad if you’re organized and know what you’re doing. Know exactly what is due, when it is due and identify what you need to focus on. Whether it is keeping a countdown list of due dates or recording your assignments in an agenda, write down your responsibilities so you can visually map out what needs to be done. A physical list or map will help you prioritize your tasks (so you know what you can procrastinate on).
2. Be efficient. Procrastinate efficiently. If you’re going to waste time doing things other than studying, spend it sleeping or eating healthily. If you spend your time gaming or partying, you won’t have the energy you need to pull off all-nighters to write those essays and cram for tests. Put the time you have to good use if not studying.
3. Know when to stop. Know your limits. There’s no way you can write that thoughtful 5-page paper in an hour. Honestly estimate the amount of time you need for an assignment and buckle down and study when the time comes. The procrastination needs to end eventually.
4. Take breaks. I find that I am more likely to procrastinate when I come across a daunting task. Break down the task. Maybe reward yourself 5 minutes of playing Bejeweled Blitz after studying one PowerPoint lecture, or maybe give yourself 15 minutes of Facebook after a page of essay writing. Taking things in smaller chunks can motivate you more and prevent procrastination.
5. Reflect. Why do you procrastinate? Are you just intimidated? Is it boring? Then think of reasons why you personally need to do the task. Even the shallow, “I really need to just pass this class,” is enough to motivate oneself into doing the work to achieve the goal. Getting started is the most difficult part for the procrastinator. Take time to reflect on why you need to do this and you will want to get started.
6. Get it right on the first try. Rereading notes? Proofreading essays? Psssh. Procrastinators don’t have time for that! Do your best to get it right the first time! Go slowly when you study and absorb as much material as possible. Constantly ask yourself whether or not your writing supports your thesis statement and avoid careless typos as you write.
7. Buddy up! Fellow procrastinators should unite. Find a buddy and check up on each other about every half hour to make sure that progress is being made. If you don’t have the self-control, maybe your friend can help! Also, it’s a chance for the friendly competition: “Who can get the studying done first?”
8. To Sleep or Not to Sleep. If you’re staying up all night, avoid the risk of taking the “power nap.” I know plenty of teens won’t wake up unless someone physically beat them on the head with a pillow. Alarms these days aren’t nearly loud enough to awaken the sleepy teenager. As a general rule, I like to acquire at least get 3 hours of sleep. If it’s less than that, do a dance and drink some soda… or you could just ask a reliable person to beat you on the head with a pillow after your “power nap.”
9. Do the work. When push comes to shove, you still have to do the actual work. There’s no getting out of it. Procrastination just makes it much more time efficient when you actually do the work.
10. Remember: Procrastination is an art. Take it seriously. Use it to your advantage.