Procrastination: the silent killer

Uni’s tough for loads of reasons: confusing readings, tedious lectures, tight time-frames, complex assignments, obscure lecturers. By far the most commonly-sighted challenge I hear about, though, is student-made.

Procrastination is that voice inside your head that says, ‘nah, it’ll be sweet’. It’s the strange impulse that makes you spend the morning surfing the net rather than working on your essay. The bad influence that convinces you that cleaning the bathroom, or sorting your cupboard, or reading the news, or catching up with a friend is actually more important right now that doing your readings. The thing that makes you believe that your assignment doesn’t need to be started, but then makes you feel guilty every time you think about it.

Procrastination’s only real combatant is motivation. Without motivation, it’ll take total control. It will make you stressed, cast a guilty shadow over your enjoyment of your day, and ultimately stop you getting the grades that you’re capable of. If you’re going to make the most of uni, you have to get motivated. The good news is that if you’re not the sort of person to possess motivation, you can make it. Here’s how:

1) Create structure. Ever wonder why your most free days are often your least constructive? Time is like money – it’s hard to value when you’ve got oodles of it. Break your day into one-hour blocks and set yourself tasks and appointments for each hour. Book in time for Facebooking, or tidying the house, alongside time for doing your readings and working on your assignments. Knowing you only have an hour on something can help to create a sense of urgency.

2) Set goals. As a student, your work will never be done. There’s always more to read, or write, or think about. When you’re not working towards anything specific, it can be incredibly hard to attain a sense of completion. Set achievable goals and work towards them one at a time: reading three articles from your Course Reader, gathering five sources for your assignment, writing 300 words of your essay.

3) Get rewards. We all seek acknowledgement for the work that we do. When you meet your goals, make sure you get the rewards you deserve. Buy yourself a coffee. Spend an hour on random Youtube videos. Get someone to cook you something you love.

4) Believe in yourself. It’s cheesy, but it’s important. If you don’t think that you can do it, you won’t want to try. It’s not worth the time, effort, or risk of getting a crap mark and looking stupid. The truth is, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’re totally capable of getting an A+. Create motivation, defeat procrastination, and you can do whatever you want.

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