‘Procrastination’ is definitely one of the most used words in a students vocabulary. We all do it, even if it’s a little bit. Admit it! Particularly coming up to Christmas break, I find that the procastination levels increase. I’m already in holiday mode but I still have 4 deadlines looming. Not a good mix! I’ve devised some methods that help curb that holiday procrastination. The less procrastinating and more working I do equals the quicker deadlines are met and I can guiltlessly be festive!
Plan, Plan, Plan
Say it with me: Planning. is. key. Personal trial and error has shown me that breaking deadlines down into bite- sized chunks helps me work a lot better. For example, day one will be simply underlining my key words (so crucial) and making an essay plan, day two could be working on the first two or three paragraphs and so on. Two and three- thousand word assignments seem daunting but if you do a bit of simple math and break them down to, say, three hundred word paragraphs it isn’t half as daunting as it first seems.
Take Regular Breaks, and Reward yourself.
The key to working through assignments or studying is utilising your time, and taking breaks as well as working hard. This definitely does hand-in- hand with planning ahead, because then you can factor in the need for breaks. For every other paragraph for an assignment, or every other topic you study take a break and reward yourself.
It’s the least you deserve. Timetabling your day is also very useful. I always tend to give myself a little bit more time on a topic than I know I’ll need. Then, you’ll feel accomplished for being ahead of schedule.
Find the best place to work
This is a particularly important tip during Working from Home times. Be practical, and find the best workspace for yourself. This could in your bedroom at your desk, it could be the library, it could be the kitchen or living room table. I always thought the only place I could work was the library, and I still get the most productivity with taking myself there with a bag of treats and snacks (rewards), but I’ve also found a new liking to chilling on the sofa at home and tipping away with my housemates. Sometimes it can be very motivating to have someone along side you also working.
Give yourself a deadline prior to the deadline
This is a new one that I’m working on implementing into my life. I learned this little trick a few weeks ago, and though I’m still working on it, it has given me a little bit of extra time, and a little less panic. The idea is that you give yourself a deadline maybe a few days before the actual deadline. Then there’s room for you to make improvements, proof read and generally just be able to put the assignment to rest for a day or so and be able to return to it with a clear head.
Utilise your tools
If you’re still last minute banging out an assignment, and don’t feel you’ve the time to leave it sit for a day so you can look at it with fresh eyes, the read- aloud feature on Microsoft Word is a great friend. Sometimes I’m just not able to look at the computer screen any longer (even if I give myself a break), and the read- aloud feature on word is pretty decent. Sure, it reads everything, including all the citations, but you can get over it, and it’s better than nothing.
It goes without saying but two things I always, always do are 1. Check for plagiarism on an online website and 2. Spellcheck on Microsoft Word. They both take about two minutes each, and even if you aren’t particularly pleased with your assignment will ensure you don’t lose stupid marks for silly reasons.
Best of luck with the rest of exam season x