Surviving School: Procrastination

5:42 PM

School’s especially spooky at this time of year: midterms, extracurriculars, college apps, etc. Staying on top of things is much easier said than done, so here are some quick tips on how to combat that mid-semester procrastination crisis. 

By academic editor, Diana Meza

1. Due Today, Do Today: My most questionable tip is up first because there are many ways this can go wrong but one way that it can go very right! Hear me out. There are two major drawbacks with doing “easy” homework at night. 1. You don’t have very strict time constraints and therefore are more prone to distraction. 2. You’re tired.  And because of this, you’ll find yourself spending hours on an assignment that you could have done in 10 minutes. So sometimes, instead of forcing yourself to stay up a while longer to finish an assignment, wake up 10 minutes earlier and do it before you go to school or during lunch. By this time, you’ll be well-rested and will have VERY tight time constraints which will force you to work efficiently. 

Of course, though, this requires a lot of consideration as to which assignments actually can be rushed without compromising quality, but master this skill and you’ll eliminate hours of wasted time.

2. Plan it Out: Get an agenda and as soon as you receive a new assignment or deadline, add it to your agenda. Something that has worked for me is making an overall list of everything that’s coming up, and each day, making a refined list of items to focus on. When you’re not sure of what to do, look at the list and start on the most urgent task. 

3. Talk to Others: Motivation doesn’t have to only come from yourself. Update your friends or family on your most important school or extracurricular assignments, and you might be surprised at how well they are at reminding you to stay on task.

4. Set a Location: Designate a desk or table in which you’ll do your work. This is really just basic psychology; your body is trained to react in certain ways when you’re at specific places, so you can’t expect to have the same amount of focus in your bed (where your body is accustomed to sleeping) than at a desk. Simply sitting at a “work” spot will help your mind get into a “work” mode. 

5. Forget Order: Something I’ve found to be a myth is that doing the hardest task first is always the right way to go. When you feel really overwhelmed or distracted, the best decision might be to simply knock some easy items off of your to-do list. The ultimate goal is to become so absorbed in your work that you’re immune to distractions, and that doesn’t always have to begin with tackling what’s most difficult. A work flow can be established by building upon small tasks. 

Some things to keep in mind: 

- Becoming involved in clubs and extracurriculars really brings out the best in high school, but sometimes, it can be overwhelming to juggle too many responsibilities. When you find yourself slacking on an activity, remember that there is always at least one other person who is taking the commitment seriously and is counting on you. Even if you don’t feel personally connected to what is happening, forget about yourself and complete the task out of respect for those to whom it really matters. 

- Procrastination isn’t necessarily the sign of a lazy or irresponsible student. Most of the time, we procrastinate on the tasks that are the most difficult or intimidating. The more important something is, the more likely it is that you’ll stress about not doing it well enough. Procrastination really just means that you care. 


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