Procrastination is very prevalent in college. There are two main reasons that students procrastinate: they don’t know where to start or they are afraid of failing the assignment. Procrastination can have a negative impact on you, your studies, and your grade. The longer you put an assignment off, the more stress you build about it and the less time you give yourself to do the assignment.
If you are not sure how to stop procrastinating and get on top of your homework, you have come to the right place. Here are 9 tips to help you stop procrastinating.
Not everyone studies the same way. Create a space or go to a space that is controlled and promotes studying in the way that works best for you. If you need absolute silence to study, you might try picking a desk in the corner of the library when you study. If music helps you study, you could keep headphones in your backpack with all of your textbooks. (Just make sure to choose music that isn’t going to distract from your work.)
Your study space should be free of distractions. Put your phone away. Close browsers that are unrelated to your homework. If you are at home with a distracting roommate, you may even tell them that you need to study and ask them not to talk to you for a couple of hours. Getting rid of distractions will help you get your work done faster.
You likely already have some deadlines that are set for your classes. It may be helpful for you to set your own deadlines for one or two days before the actual turn-in date to give yourself some wiggle room. Then if there is an emergency you either have already done most of the work or you have an extra day to do what you need to. If there isn’t an emergency, you can use that extra day to check your work, relax, and destress.
Once you have figured out what your deadlines are, create a schedule to follow to make sure you meet those deadlines. You can use a planner to write down when you will complete different parts of a bigger project, specific assignments, and your overall deadlines. This schedule will help you stay on track throughout the semester. It can also help you know when you will have some free time that won’t hurt your studies.
Choose a specific amount of time that you are going to work and set a timer. Maybe you have an activity in two hours and you want to go but you need to get homework done first. Set a timer for 90 minutes, get rid of distractions, and get to work. Or maybe you don’t think your focus will last for very long. You could set a timer for an hour and do as much homework as you can during that time. Then give yourself a break. A timer can be a good motivation tool for some people.
Taking breaks can be necessary to help you refocus. If you are feeling unfocused and overwhelmed, then you may just need a short break. Set a timer and take a break. You could get a snack, listen to a song, or watch an episode of a show. Just don’t take a break for too long.
Give yourself incentives. If you are reading a difficult text and having a hard time getting through it, try eating your favorite candy or small snack (i.e. gummy bears), place the gummy bears throughout the page, start reading the page, and when you have read to a bear you can eat it. If you want to use a bigger incentive, make sure you get yourself to accomplish a bigger task.
Getting the hardest thing done first helps you stay focused on the assignment because you are not already mentally drained from doing all of your other homework. Once this assignment is done you will feel a weight off your shoulders and know that everything else you have to do will be easier. Doing your hardest assignment first can also give you a confidence boost.
Choose a good friend or a classmate to hold each other accountable. Check-in with each other once or twice a week and make sure the other is staying on top of their projects and homework. If you are in the same class you could even do the homework together or quiz each other.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Similarly, with your homework, you should take it one assignment (or even part of one assignment) at a time. When you start the assignment right away, you can break it up into smaller sections to avoid getting overwhelmed and have plenty of time to ask for help if you don’t understand something.