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Procrastination – time for a change

“What are you doing playing video games all night? I’m sure you’ve probably got lots of studying to do. Revision, sorting out those notes, practice writing that essay?” “Yeah Mum, just playing Xbox for a while. I’ll do it in a bit.”

 

I’m sure those lines are being heard in many households at the moment. It is a fact of human behaviour that we all have a tendency to procrastinate, or put things off, from time to time. It’s easy to make an excuse or find a reason to delay. Many students will currently be battling with procrastination and the longer they leave starting their revision, the more it will affect their work and results.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is essentially avoidance behaviour. We put things off because we want to avoid an uncomfortable feeling. Unsurprisingly it’s not usually the enjoyable tasks that we delay. We don’t tend to avoid playing video games or going out with friends. It’s the tasks that we don’t want to do, that we find boring, that are too difficult or that cause us anxiety. It may be revision, asking someone out on a date, or finishing an essay. It can become a vicious cycle as the more we procrastinate the more we undermine our own confidence. Beating procrastination is about letting go of your fears and facing up to what’s important.

 

How to overcome procrastination

Ask yourself: Why are you procrastinating? What is it that you are finding difficult? Once you work out the problem it will be easier to tackle.

No excuses: Your pencil doesn’t need to be sharpened, and your bedroom doesn’t have to be tidied before you get down to it.

Don’t be sidetracked: Reward yourself once you have done some revision but don’t let yourself be sidetracked by replacement activities. Don’t be tempted by the thief of time that is social media. Switch off your alerts and remove the distractions.

Take a risk: It takes effort to tolerate discomfort but the first step is usually the hardest. Revision gets progressively easier after that.

Break it down: Break down your revision into more manageable chunks so it doesn’t seem daunting. Make a timetable but don’t spend hours colour-coding and laminating it, this is tantamount to procrastination in itself.

Take action: Just do it, don’t be drained by procrastination, it can become a habit that’s hard to break. Do something, even a small piece, get started NOW.

 

Written by Sander de Groot

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