When it comes to essays I am a procrastinator.
Instead of seeing a free half an hour in which it would be perfect to write some of my word count, I see an additional half an hour for sleep or a chance to catch up on reading blogs. I know beyond a doubt that I currently don’t utilise my time to the best of my ability, yet I recognise this flaw.
I know I take longer to write essays than friends, so I calculate this into my time plan along with learning when and where I work best. For example I personally cannot work in my flat, instead I need to be in a public space like the library. I also know that I get more done later in the day so staying up late is perfect for me. But the thing is I always end up getting distracted when I should be writing assignments, by researching things for lectures that actually don’t need as much time spent on it & I push away things I don’t want to do or am scared of till the last minute – so how do I combat this?
There isn’t a simple cheat sheet with all this information you just have to know how you work best and where you can make improvements. However here a few tips I have learnt over my last three and a half years at University;
- Write down a list of all the things you need to get done – Read through it and figure out which ones are going to take the longest and are the most important.
- Tackle the one you hate the most first – The most important ones need more time spent on it but don’t think it needs to be perfect whilst you are writing it but make sure you are starting with some progress so that it isn’t as daunting the next time you look at it.
- Work the way that suits you. I write essays and blog posts the same way by writing anything and everything down. They don’t flow nor are the sentences grammatically correct but I do create words on the page – I then leave it for a couple of hours *or if I ahead of myself a few days* before I go back and edit it paragraph by paragraph. Making sure, this time, it makes sense, flows and has all the information I want to feature. However other people prefer to have a structure in place with a plan of what is going where – the idea is you tailor it to how you work.
- Work in the places you work best – but don’t pretend that you will get it done at home when you know you will watch TV instead. The only person who you are screwing over is yourself.
- Limit your internet use – it is pretty simple, don’t have twitter or Facebook open, concentrate on what you need to get done!
- If you start to lose concentration don’t carry on trying to write – We all know you will be writing words that you will only delete the next day. Focus on something else for a bit and then come back later
- Treat yourself – I find coffee motivates me but if you like to have sweets or soft drinks etc bring them along to keep you company!
- Headphones – great to listen to music, audiobook or even just to drown out your neighbours in the library. They help make sure you are able to concentrate on the task in hand.
- Dress comfortably – nothing is worse than trying to work when you are cold or too hot, dress in accordance to the climates you are working in!
- Phone OFF or turned away from you – don’t get distracted by apps or texts for friends – it can all wait till later.
Now I am not pretending that doing all of these tips will totally beat your procrastinating, but they should help in minimising the amount of time you spend getting distracted! However if you have any additional tips which has helped you combat procrastination please let me know in the comments or via twitter.