We at PMH are fairly great at one thing, and that is putting of our work till the last possible moment. Conventional wisdom suggests that after the first all nighters you pull to finish that super important paper, you would learn your lesson and get things done earlier. But alas, there is always that party, movie, video game, etc. getting in your way. So we here at PMH have compiled a list of our best “Pro-Tips” to beat procrastination and actually get things done.
Pro-Tip #1: Plan Ahead
If you know that big paper is going to be due soon, work on it ahead of time, set up a game plan to finish portions of it every couple days. It is up to you to establish benchmarks for completion. Ideally you want to plan to have it done a few days before it is actually due, this will give you enough time to have it proof read by the professor, as well as give a few days in case something else comes up.
If you have a plan and you stick to it chances are that you will finish things earlier and not procrastinate as much. Remember to always write down your plan it helps to reinforce it in your mind, and also helps you stick to it much better. I love to cross things off my check list it gives me a little burst of energy and makes me happier to see the list get smaller.
Pro-Tip #2: Schedule in Dedicated Time
I like to set aside X hours a day dedicated to getting things on my list done, which means no video games, no parties, no hanging out, no movies, etc. Those hours are just for me and my list. I will try to finish my paper, do any research I need to do, study, run errands and what not. If you have set aside a block of time with no distractions you will work more efficiently and work much faster.
Pro-Tip #3: Find Yourself a Quiet Place
When you need to study and get things done, go to the library, and find that one corner where no one ever goes. When you are studying or writing that paper you want to be isolated from all distractions. I love going to the basement of our student center, it is quiet, and everyone down there is there for one reason, to study. I am surrounded by people who are being productive and it motivates me to be productive.
Pro-Tip #4: Find People with the Same Goals
I mentioned this slightly earlier, but it really matters. If you are surrounded by people who are partying, or doing other activities you will get distracted much faster. Find people who are also studying, find a study group or a friend to study with. You can use each other to keep yourselves on task. I find myself much less likely to go off topic when I study with a friend.
Pro-Tip #5: Take One Step at a Time
Don’t worry about any of the other tasks on your list. When you are studying for that huge o-chem exam in 3 days forget about that paper that’s due in a week. Finish one task at a time; it keeps you from being overwhelmed with the stuff you have to do.
Pro-Tip #6: Time Out
Take 5-10 minutes off every hour; grab a coffee or a snack. These little breaks will help to keep you motivated and keep your body from becoming exhausted. Fatigue is one of your biggest enemies while you are trying to get something done. Periodic breaks will allow you to study for longer. But make sure not to get distracted during your breaks.
Pro-Tip #7: Get Off the Computer
No seriously the internet is one of the most distracting things on earth for a college student. Facebook, twitter, and all the other distracting sites out there do a great job of driving us off topic. Try to schedule your facebook and twitter time in, and keep it under an hour a day ideally. I say set aside 3-4 times a day to check your social media profiles at regular intervals through the day for 10-15 minutes.
Let us know how it goes for you, and make sure to post your “Pro-Tips” in the comments, along with your success stories.