1.) Making a Schedule and Sticking to It – Some people have trouble staying on task simply because they don’t know what to do next or have a clear sense of how to balance short-term and long-term assignments in order to meet deadlines. If you haven’t discovered already, having a planner is essential in college. Get a planner or use an online calendar such as Google Calendar or iCal and designate specific times for when you will work on certain assignments. Don’t get discouraged and give up on your planner if you have trouble sticking to your schedule! Managing a planner might seem easy in concept, but it is a skill that you will constantly develop throughout college and your career.
2.) Exercise Before Studying – Numerous studies have shown that exercising consistently can improve your mental focus and cognitive performance. Before you head back to your room or to the library to commit to hours of studying, make a trip to gym or go for quick run. The short amount of time you spend exercising, 30 minutes to an hour, will likely pay off in the quality of your work and in your ability to concentrate.
3.) Break Down Your Projects into Smaller Tasks – Don’t allow the size of an assignment to discourage you from going forward. Break down the assignment into smaller, more manageable tasks and focus on working your way through each individual piece.
4.) Set a Timer and Reward Yourself with Breaks – It’s much easier to tear yourself away from distractions and stay on task when you set a specific amount of time to do uninterrupted work and then reward yourself with a break. For those unfamiliar with the Pomodoro technique, it may be your new best friend. Set a timer on your phone and stay on task for 25 or 30 minutes and then reward yourself with a 5 minute break. After 4 repetitions, you can reward yourself with a longer break of 20 or 30 minutes.
5.) Don’t Make Exceptions – Ever notice how one exception can lead to another? You’ll take an impromptu break to check your Facebook, which will lead you to Buzzfeed and before you know it you’ve fallen down an hour-long black hole of cat videos on Youtube. Catch yourself before the chain-reaction of exceptions starts and realize the more time you spend on your work right now, the sooner you can finish and take an actual, stress-free break.
Do you have any personal techniques for fighting against procrastination? Share them below in the comment section!