“Dear Josephine Miner,
I find myself procrastinating on homework, studying for tests, and my class projects. I tell myself I shouldn’t and my grades are starting to suffer. How do I stop procrastinating?
Many students struggle to be proactive with school work and it is far too easy to start a procrastination cycle that can last all semester. First, students should get organized and create a schedule. Most students use a planner, google calendar, or a wide variety of phone planner apps. Make sure to list all homework assignments, projects, and tests in the preferred organizational format to not forget about an upcoming due date. Schedule personal events and meetings in a calendar as well, so study time can be budgeted around those times. When a date or a time is chosen, students are more committed to finishing the assignment compared to a “I’ll do it later” deadline.
When trying to decide what to start on, do the hard tasks first. Completing a project that is more difficult than moving to easier ones makes the rest of them not so daunting to finish. If the hardest tasks take multiple days, or even weeks, set simple, but achievable weekly goals to work towards. Some tasks are too intimidating and too large to even start. It is easier to combat a smaller, easier challenge than to accomplish a big one, especially with a procrastination mindset. Another tip is to tell someone or find a classmate to share goals with. This can be a positive form of peer pressure for some students. Students are more likely to complete a task and complete it well if positive peer pressure from friends keeps them on track with school work.
Try to rid all study spaces of any potential distractions. Mobile phones are a huge distraction for most students. Try to turn the phone off or download a study distraction app like “Forest – Stay Focused”. The Forest app motivates students to stay off their phones during study times by growing a tree during a user set study period. Any time the user activates any other application on their phone, their tree starts to die. Anytime the user can make a tree grow full, an actual tree is planted incentivizing students to help the environment and to create better study habits. Emails can also be just as distracting as a phone; don’t have an email tab open when working on a computer or laptop.
Lastly, remember it is okay to take a break and relax. Coming back from a break with fresh eyes and a relaxed brain helps with spotting mistakes or finding new ways to solve a problem. Most breaks give students a positive refreshed mindset to motivate them to keep pushing through the assignment. Along with taking a break, use incentives as motivation. Some incentives are breaks, but others could be watching an episode of a favorite TV show or maybe a quick trip to Sonic for happy hour drinks.
Good luck to all of those procrastinators trying to become more proactive with school work and in other life matters. Readers in need of advice please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sincerely, Josephine Miner