The following question came yesterday from Brittany, a student in my upcoming Personality class:
“What are some good techniques that can be used to avoid procrastinating and to get studying and assignments done more efficiently?”
Well, Brittany, let me start by noting that procrastination is extremely common among college students. You have so many assignments and activities competing for your time. Plus, you are young, and thus need more sleep than you will later in life. This combination means you are frequently tired and feeling guilty about not getting more things done. I myself was a huge procrastinator in college, but now my husband calls me “the non-procrastinator.”
Some experts on procrastination say that the key to organizing your time and getting things done on time is to make a list of all the things you must do. You can make the to-do list for the next day before you go to bed. Then, when you wake up you can begin to tackle the items on the list. You keep reviewing the list and checking off items as you complete them. It’s a simple trick that might work.
But perhaps you don’t want to make lists and force yourself to organize your time. If that’s the case, you can decide right now that you know you a procrastinator and plan your procrastination. You can say at the beginning of the semester that you are only going to give yourself 2 nights to write any paper and 2 nights to study for any major exam. Through planning your procrastination, at least this way you won’t always feel guilty about not getting to your assignments (because it’s part of your plan for the semester). Do give yourself at least 2 nights for a big paper, though, because you will get insights on the paper in between the times you work on it.
If you think that these recommendations are too simplistic for your personal form of procrastination, then you could try reading the book Awaken Your Stronger Self: Break Free of Stress, Inner Conflict, and Self-Sabotage by Neil Fiore, PhD. It is well-reviewed and can be ordered at http://www.amazon.com/Awaken-Your-Strongest-Self-Self-Sabotage/dp/0071470263/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262968117&sr=1-11
If you try any of these recommendations, please let us all know how it works for you!
I think this is a great post! I can be a procrastinator at times, particularly when it comes to keeping up with the reading for various classes. I personally like the checklist suggestion. I sometimes make a list in my planner during the week, and I find it very helpful. Also, I find that planning out my day hour by hour to help me use my time as efficiently as I can, which I think could help avoid or at least minimize future procrastination.