Learning to manage your time well is a key part of college and career readiness. We all procrastinate — it’s a simple fact. Most of the time it occurs more with unpleasant tasks: cleaning that dirty pan from last night’s meal or starting that gigantic pile of laundry. But it can also occur with more important projects like cramming for that test tomorrow or trying to meet an 11:59 pm deadline. These tend to be more serious and can lead to increased levels of stress and poor grades.
Okay, so you procrastinate and want to change, but where do you start? Try first identifying when you procrastinate. Use a time chart and record what you do for the day in 15-minute blocks. After a week, look back and identify the times where you want to be more productive. Also, note what activities you are doing during those blocks of time.
Master these study skills and you’ll be on track to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.
Tips to Stop Procrastinating
Keep your eye on the prize. Focus on achieving and that great feeling you get after finishing a task.
Make a list and stick to it. Whether you use your phone, your computer, or good ‘ol fashioned pen-and-paper, create an honest to-do list of each task you have to accomplish and stay on top of it.
Use realistic deadlines. If you know you are not going to finish by a certain date, then do not make that your deadline. You are setting yourself up for failure.
If you have a larger, multi-faceted project, try to tackle smaller tasks within it. This will keep you on track, but relieve some of the stress. Some refer to this as “The Swiss Cheese Method,” creating holes along the way makes completing a task seem easier.
Reward yourself. After completing tasks, give yourself a gift. Sometimes I use Facebook as a mini-reward and a movie or TV show as a larger reward.
Be disciplined. Maybe the rewards aren’t working? Look back at your time-log and identify what enjoyable activities you can cut out to deter yourself from getting off track.
We all procrastinate at one time or another. If you feel that you may not want to address this issue alone, reach out to your counseling department on campus — it never hurts to talk to someone.
Stop procrastinating today — don’t delay.
Collegiate Directions, Inc. supports low-income, first-generation students to and through college, providing them with application and financial aid advising, curriculum planning, and study tips like these. Donating to education makes a direct impact on low-income, first-generation students. We hope you’ll also consider helping these students on their path to college and make a donation today.