That’s what SHE said blog – Students share their tips to beat procrastination

The ‘That’s what SHE said’ blog is written by SHE College student Mel. As an intern for the college of SHE and a Peer Learning Advisor, Mel is passionate about sharing ideas and highlighting the services available to you in order to make Uni life just a little easier. 


Ah yes procrastination – such an intriguing word. In fact, sitting and thinking about it causes me to waste time.  Gosh this GIF collage sums it up perfectly:

We know we’re doing it, but sometimes we just can’t help but let it happen. We know it’s eating away at our precious time, but the lure of it can be too satisfying. And then we hit that slump and start to wonder: ‘why am I like this?’

Why did I decide to clean out my wardrobe instead of getting on with this assignment?  I don’t know about you, but even cleaning my house is more attractive than getting on with an essay that just seems impossible.

Then, the clock counts down and we begin to panic.

Why do we procrastinate?

Well, to be honest, sometimes it’s just for fun. It’s way more fun to binge watch Netflix instead of getting my weekly readings done.  Sometimes I am just plain tired, and I don’t feel like starting something that has ‘too hard’ stamped all over it. If I’m not sure I’ll ace it easily, I put it off to avoid the failure of not producing the perfect piece of work.  In the end, I’m not doing myself any favours. Thankfully, I am getting better at managing my time, mostly out of the sheer need, but more-so because I am honest with myself.

Students around campus agree! In fact, I walked around for an hour chatting with random students about what gets in the way of their study. They said their main procrastination tools are Netflix and social media, and added perfectionism is also getting in the way of getting things done.

Procrastination and perfectionism are often linked

The fear of failure, dissatisfaction, regret over previous mistakes, and the need to be in control can all contribute to why we procrastinate. But hey, that’s enough about the problem. Let’s not procrastinate and dwell on all this stuff – it’s time for some solutions!

Source

I took some time to chat with students around campus and here is what you had to say.

Student tips:

  • “I shut off my WIFI” – download all the things you need, then shut off the WiFi so you don’t get distracted by notifications.
  • Stay organised – by breaking the task down into little chunks, it feels less overwhelming
  • “Pressure helps me!”
  • “I create a separate space for study – away from the distraction of relaxation”
  • “I plan to study at certain times and try and stick to it”
  • “I give my room mate my phone and tell them not to give it back to me.”
  • Set a study session goal – so your goal may be to focus on a certain topic and this helps you to avoid going back to other things, or working on other topics.
  • “If I am finding it hard to get started, I like to write key words on a piece of paper, then I cut it all up and move them around to begin to order ideas.”
  • Study groups help! You know you have to be planned and the accountability helps motivate you to get this done.
  • Create a pressure environment – use a countdown timer to build the sense of urgency, creating the motivation to get it done.
  • Here is a great tool I was told to google while chatting in The Learning Hub – POMODORO – The idea is to set yourself a list and work in 25 minute blocks, taking short breaks and after 4 sets of 25 minute ‘Pomodoro,’ you take a longer break. This link explains it perfectly, and helps you create your list which you can tick off as you go. What a great idea!

A few others we conjured up at the blog:

  • Procrastinate your procrastination! Often this will give your urge to procrastinate time to pass if you say “I’ll procrastinate in 15 mins”.
  • Prioritise your work: write down what needs to get done, and do the more urgent stuff first using colours or numbers. And push yourself to do it!
  • Chunk your time: instead of scheduling time to “write my essay,” schedule time to “find 5 articles,” write introduction,” and so forth
  • Be realistic about your energy levels, and interest in the subject – lots of small chunks for hard subjects, less and bigger chunks for better ones. Do the worst thing first.
  • Practice saying no to some things in your life.

Remember:

We pay a lot of money to come to Uni, so we need to make the most of its free services by speaking to the Peer Learning Advisors, Health and Wellbeing, Career Hub and Equity and Diversity.  There are so many services to help us get it right, and all at our fingertips.  Get onto the La Trobe website, and search for the service you need. Most of them have drop in sessions, or you can book an appointment.

Check out – Why Procrastinators Procrastinate by Tim urban – it’s a great read! Or here is a link to his Ted talk if you think you’ll put off (haha) reading his information: ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator‘.