Autumn & Procrastination

The weather is getting cooler and the crispness of autumn is in the air, making it that bit more difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed and attend lectures or work on assignments…right?

This may be true, but:

  • Attending lectures is still important. Formative Assessment 2 (for year subjects) and Summative Assessments are still coming, don’t waste opportunities to pick up useful hits and tips on how to tackle your assessments because staying home watching netflix seemed like a better idea at the time.

 

  • You’ve paid good money to be here – or your parents / sponsors have. Don’t put pleasure before business, get your money’s worth, attend lectures and seize every opportunity to make what is left of the semester count.

If these two pearls of wisdom are not helping to motivation you, perhaps some ideas on how to deal with procrastination will.

Tips for Beating Autumn Procrastination

Definition: Procrastination - To irrationally put off important tasks.

1. What’s it worth to you?

A major motivator in life, and for students, is how much you value a set goal or task. If you don’t care that much about it, chances are your motivation will be low and the risk of procrastination high.

By “value” we are not only talking about the importance of the goal or task, but also the enjoyment value. Goals  or tasks that are daunting, unpleasant or boring easily demotivate us, and increase the possibility of procrastination setting in.

How can you overcome this particular obstacle?

  • Determine why the goal / task is important. This will require you to be very honest with yourself; is this the assessment that could save a failing grade, even though you hate the subject? By increasing the value of a goal / task in your mind, you may be able to increase your motivation.
  • Determine the cost of the goal / task. What will it cost you in additional time and money if you don’t get a particular task done or don’t achieve your goal? Think in terms of the financial cost of having to pay for a supp. or repeat a subject, or the additional months or years it will add to your time at college.
  • Reward and Punishment.  Or you could keep it simple by rewarding yourself for doing the right thing and punishing yourself for procrastinating.

2. It’s my personality

For some people procrastination is a personality trait they are born with and have little control over – these people are easily distracted, impulsive and tend to have low self-esteem. Does this sound at all familiar?

You may not be able to change your personality, but you can make it work for you by adjusting your surroundings – by creating an environment that supports work and discourages avoidance.

Things you can do to create a work-friendly environment include:

  • Eliminate distractions. Switch off your cell phone; remove the X-box, Playstation, or whatever gaming device you use from the room; switch off the tv; disconnect the WiFi / internet.
  • Don’t stop to think. Procrastination has a sneaky way of disguising itself as a thought process. Don’t be that guy who stops to think about the best way to illustrate a marketing idea and ends up planning the sandwich you want to make for lunch instead.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need to hand when you sit down to work, that way you cannot be distracted by searching for your favourite pen or stopping to think about where you saw that quote that perfectly summed up your argument.

3. How do you and eat an elephant?

According to the proverb…one bite at a time.

What does this even mean?! When faced with a really big task or assignment, the big picture can be overwhelming and can reinforce procrastination. Rather than focusing on the huge end result, break the task / assignment up into smaller, manageable, achievable parts.

Another way of dealing with a daunting task is by alternating it with something you enjoy doing. If you work steadily throughout the day, focusing for a good 30 – 60 minutes on the task you don’t enjoy and alternating it with 20 – 30 minutes of something you do enjoy, you will not only make steady progress, but you’ll also have a positive motivator (the task you enjoy doing) to help you keep on track.

4. In search of perfection

Procrastination is some times best friends with another personality trait that goes by the name of “Perfectionist“. For some people every task / assignment has to be perfect – this is not only unrealistic, it is unnecessary and merely feeds the procrastination monster.

When struggling with feelings of procrastination linked to perfectionism, remind yourself that it is more important to complete a task / assignment, than it is for it to be perfect.

5. Time Management and Concentration

These are two skills you can consciously work on to improve and even beat procrastination. To find out more on how to improve your time management and / or concentration, visit these topics on the blog.


References:

Chambers, A. (2015). Seven Steps to Help Conquer Procrastination: A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning (Part 1). Retrieved from: http://www.mobar.org/media-center/news-blog/seven-steps-to-help-conquer-procrastination-part-1/  [Accessed on: 12 September 2016].

Dean, J. (2014). 10 Foolproof Tips for Overcoming Procrastination. Retrieved from:  http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/03/10-foolproof-tips-for-overcoming-procrastination.php  [Accessed on: 12 September 2016].

Dean, J. (2011). How to Fight the Four Pillars of Procrastination. Retrieved from:  http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/09/how-to-fight-the-four-pillars-of-procrastination.php  [Accessed on: 12 September 2016].

Todd, D. (2012). Overcoming Procrastination: Tips for Overcoming the Bane of all College Students. Retrieved from:  http://www.collegeview.com/articles/article/overcoming-procrastination [Accessed on: 12 September 2016].

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