Most of us don’t like to admit it, but we are all victims of procrastination. It’s a highly contagious and harmful disease that claims the study of many students each year. Students can’t focus, so the disease takes over, turning students into unmotivated and distracted serious cases of the well-known illness. While there is no known cure yet, we have developed a few steps to fend off the symptoms.
First things first, get organised. Students need a clear, quiet workspace that allows them to focus. Set up camp in a quiet room in the house or maybe take yourself down to the local library to make sure you’re in a positive environment. Invest in a planner that sorts out everything from the assignment deadlines to family dinners. Knowing what needs to be done and when, as well as all the commitments in between, will show a clear timeline that might even help to motivate students.
Next up is goal setting. Getting an influx of due dates and task sheets can often make everything seem a little daunting and add to the pressure. By setting up some simple, short-term but manageable goals, little things can be checked off the list. Saying “I’ll study Maths tonight” won’t help students focus but by encouraging goals such as “I’ll finish that Maths Worksheet tonight” will develop a calmer mindset. Students are then more likely to study than procrastinate over all the things needed to be completed.
The main symptom of procrastination is distraction. Annoying younger siblings or the constant vibrating of a phone are clear warning signs that students might be diagnosed with procrastination. Take the phone away (after disinfecting of course) or turn it to ‘Do Not Disturb’ to prevent students from getting side-tracked halfway through a task and losing all that momentum. And as a heads up, it’s highly contagious, so remove all annoying siblings from the environment to avoid going through the process all over again!
Like any illness, it’s important to take time and relax. Now, we are not suggesting turn it into a Netflix binge session, but a few 15-minute breaks here and there might release some of the procrastination in the air. Taking a walk around the block or making a sandwich can help refocus the brain for another super study ‘sesh’.
Fight back by completing the hard stuff first. The hard or complex parts of the assessment or study block are often the parts that make students more susceptible to catching the defiant-studying illness. Just like when you eat your favourite dinner, eating all the greens and vegetables first (yuck!) makes the best parts even better. So just like your favourite meal, by getting the hard tasks out of the way, the stuff left is more fun and easier to complete.
So, whether the symptoms are rising, or the fear of contracting is enough to spark the change, preparing for the battle against procrastination can help all students in the long run. Better studying habits, more work completed, and a healthier brain is just the right antidote.