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Procrasti-later! Saying goodbye to that pesky habit

By Kaija Kaarid, 2nd-year Life Sciences student

I was a veteran procrastinator. I had mastered the art of putting things off and cramming at the last minute. In high school I managed to get away with it… unfortunately this wasn’t going to work in university. Within the first few weeks of first year I could feel myself falling further and further behind. I realized that I was going to have to change. Rather than deciding to change “one of these days” (classic procrastinator) I finally decided to change right then and there, and I’m so glad I did. If you have a similar story, don’t worry – we’re only in week four and, either way, it’s never too late to change!

Here are my top 5 tips to beat procrastination:

  1. Be honest with yourself. Pay attention to cues that you’re going to put something off and don’t rationalize it. I used to tell myself that “it’ll only take a few minutes”, but those minutes all add up!
  1. Make a weekly schedule. It’s easy to feel like time is slipping away, but making a weekly schedule helped me realize how much time you can make use of in a week. Use time between classes and make specific goals regarding what work you’re going to do when.
  1. Do the hard stuff first. Every semester I have that one class that I find super difficult and don’t want to do work for. If you do it early in the week you get it over with and can move onto the easier stuff! J
  1. Take control of your phone and social media. Try using the 50:10 rule (50 minutes of work followed by a 10 minute break) or make a deal with yourself to get a certain amount of work done before checking your phone.
  1. Just start! Often the hardest part of working is getting started. Try the “5 more” rule. Agree to just read 5 pages or just do 5 practice problems, and then see if you’re willing to do 5 more. You may find that once you’re going it’s not difficult to keep at it!

Now, a year later, I’m a completely different student and am proud of the changes I’ve made. Remember that procrastination is just a habit and it doesn’t take long for new habits to ‘stick’. Make the decision to change today – form some new habits and say goodbye to procrastination!

See our Motivation and Procrastination resource for even more suggestions.

Photo courtesy of Steven S. under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.