Procrastination is not a new affliction. It is such a common phenomenon that it has even been assigned a dedicated day: March 25! But, even if we celebrate it, this tendency to put everything off until tomorrow can quickly become a brake on your life as a student. Thinking of the maths homework which was given to you 2 weeks ago and which you must return tomorrow, but you still have not touched… Do not panic, stop procrastinating, it is completely possible! Here are our 4 unstoppable tips that will allow you to beat procrastination.
- Tip #1: Identify what drives you to procrastinate
- Tip #2: Divide your tasks into mini tasks
- Tip #3: Set goals
- Tip #4: Find motivation
1. Tip #1: Identify what drives you to procrastinate
Procrastination is not inherent in humans. There are often external elements that can influence your motivation and your determination to carry out a task. In order to counter this phenomenon, it is important to identify precisely what has been pushing you to postpone for… sometime already.
This can be due to several factors, which you can identify through questions:
- Lack of motivation: what will doing this task bring me?
- You underestimate the importance of it: if I don't do it, is it really serious?
- Fatigue or low morale: do I feel like doing it, or will it weigh too much on me?
- A bad method: am I productive and efficient with my current way of working?
- A slightly biased sense of priorities: wouldn't I rather be doing something else?
- Bad organisation: where should I start?
As you can imagine, there are many more...
Once you've pinpointed what's holding you back from accomplishing something, it's easier to come up with suitable solutions. Thus, if you think that you are poorly organised, it would be beneficial to think about making a revision schedule. If it's the work method that's lacking and preventing you from getting started, there are plenty of alternatives to try that could help you be super productive and make your life easier.
💡 For example, if your notes are unclear and your notebooks are real rags, take advantage of the Cornell method to organise your ideas according to a note-taking method known to be super effective. You will have no more excuses to learn your lessons!
2. Tip #2: Divide your tasks into mini tasks
If the task assigned to you seems too complex and time-consuming, perhaps you should approach it in another way. To counter the complexity, there is nothing better than to divide a task into sub-tasks, which will then be much more attainable. It won’t feel like such a large mountain to climb.
If we take the example of the maths homework, you can for example decide to do the homework little by little, by solving each exercise individually day after day. You will see that it will seem much less weighty all of a sudden.
However, it requires a lot of organisation: by tackling this homework little by little, you risk spreading your working time over a longer period, and you will therefore have to get started earlier. To avoid forgetting one of the exercises or to be sure to finish on time, you can bet on the work schedule. It will allow you to distribute tasks according to your time slots that you will have specially reserved for that purpose.
We also note that following a schedule is an essential ally against procrastination: how can you find excuses for not working when you have everything listed and organised on one beautiful sheet? 👼
👉 In any case, duty must be done. So, it's worth thinking about whether you prefer to get started once and for all or stick to it every day!
3. Tip #3: Set Goals
Most of the time, we procrastinate because we don't really know where to start. It's normal: your life as a student is busy, not to mention your personal life.
There are two types of goals you can use to stop procrastinating:
It could be doing exercises 5 and 6 of homework by Friday, tidying up my desk by tonight, filing the chapter on globalization… It's all the little things you tend to put off later, but which can allow you to move forward serenely to achieve your long-term goals.
2. Long term goals
Joining the school of my dreams, having good grades in English before the end of the year, becoming an engineer… These will be difficult to achieve if you wait without doing anything! And yes, procrastinating is also being passive. But to see your wishes come true, you have to be active.
Come on, let's get motivated! As Dickens so aptly puts it, “procrastination is theft from life”. What better idea, than to keep this motto in mind at all times of the day? As constraining as they may seem in the immediate future, these small goals can help you build a life that suits you.
To help you keep track of your small tasks, you can rely on the daily or weekly to-do list. What is the principle? Lay out all the things to do, in order to be able to have them in sight (otherwise, it is guaranteed oblivion). The advantage is twofold:
You will be able to prioritise each of these tasks (by assigning them stars, by writing them in a certain colour or by arranging them in a specific order according to their deadline…) This will help you prioritise your future actions!
Checking off, crossing out, or highlighting a task once it's done is VERY satisfying and motivating. Try telling us otherwise!
💡 Little trick to avoid overloading your to-do: if it takes less than 5 min: do it immediately!
4. Tip #4: Find motivation
If crossing completed tasks off your list isn't enough, there are plenty of other ways to motivate yourself. In general, a donkey is always more inclined to gallop if it has a carrot at the finish… Far be it from us to compare you to a mule, but sometimes all you need to do is find your carrot to finally stop procrastinating.
Thus, you can give yourself rewards based on the tasks accomplished:
- Grant you a TV series episode after filing and reviewing a few chapters
- Go to a restaurant with your family or friends once you have reached the end of your homework.
- A nap after tidying up your room is an option too!
Once you have understood your motivation, it will be easier to give yourself a goal to reach and to keep it if you are determined. From this you can also self-motivate yourself with inspiring phrases that you can repeat to yourself in the morning to get you into the mood for the day.
💡 Need a little help? Write your favourite quotes or the rewards that await you on sticky notes that you can stick anywhere. Your mirror, your fridge, your walls... where It will be impossible for you to miss them! That way you can remember why you're bothering. It's really practical 😉
Come on, now you have no more excuses to put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Thanks to our tips, you will be on the right track to stop procrastinating and(finally) start that homework.
And if, sometimes, you resume your bad habits of procrastinating, don’t feel guilty. It happens to even the most productive among us. The goal is to identify the reasons that prevent you from moving forward and take them by the horns. You can do it!