by MARY WURZBACHER '23
I find myself being a bit of a hypocrite by writing an article on how to avoid procrastination, on account of I’m a horrible procrastinator. The goal is to help all Saint Ursula procrastinators simply stop putting work off until the last minute. Without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Look at the bigger picture
If an assignment isn’t due immediately, we often put it off to attend to more pressing matters. Spending the extra half hour Monday through Thursday to chip away at that literature paper due Friday is much better than staying up until 3:00 a.m. on Thursday trying to finish it before school starts. If you see things from this perspective, homework will be a lot easier for you.
2. Break it into pieces
Let’s stay on that essay example. If you try to write a final draft all in one night, it just won’t work. If you write a final draft, having already done an outline and a first draft, it will be a heck of a lot easier and better. Working on an assignment in little pieces is also going to be less stressful than trying to do everything in one night.
3. Turn your phone off
Everybody has gotten stuck on the Instagram explore page before they start their homework. Yet the hours don’t stop passing; suddenly it’s 8:30 and you’ve wasted three hours looking at memes. If you set your phone aside as soon as you start your homework, you’ll be able to go to finish and get to bed much sooner. I personally like using the Downtime feature on my iPhone; the best way to describe it is as Do Not Disturb on steroids.
4. Tell someone else about it
Having someone else hold you accountable is far more effective than trying to do it on your own. Sharing your goal with a parent, sibling, or responsible friend can make such a difference because they may hound you about it (especially parent). You could also have additional incentive not to disappoint them. Either way, telling someone your goal to remain on task can really help you get started.
5. Treat yourself
Go ahead and watch that next episode of Riverdale, eat that Rocky Road, go buy that top you’ve been eyeing, but only after you meet your goal. When you have something on the line, you tend to work a little harder. This strategy works especially well for tests. If you promise yourself that you’ll go to Kings Island with your friends, but only if you get an A on the math test, you’re going to study harder than if you were just studying for the grade. Additionally, set mini rewards up for every mini milestone. For example, every three new theorems you memorize, you can eat a Hershey’s kiss. That will revive your motivation throughout the process.
6. Put it in a planner
Planners are $5 at Kroger, so go out and get one if you can drive. If you can’t drive, ask your parent to get you one when they go to get groceries. There are also numerous digital planners that you can use to keep up with your homework. The important aspect of planners it actually writing it all down. So, on Monday, when the teacher tells you about Friday’s test, whip out your planner and write “Test Friday” on every day of the week. You can even try these links to browse organizers or try an app.
7. Have fun with it
So many times we have to write out boring flashcards, which is a mindless activity and doesn’t require much focus. On occasions like such, we can allow ourselves to turn on some fun music or call a friend. If we know that we can look forward to one of those things, we won’t dread it as much and we will start sooner. Just be careful; you can’t let yourself get distracted by the story your friend is telling you, because that defeats the whole purpose.
8. Change your workspace
If your homework area is your bed, you might have an issue. Pick a place that won’t make you sleepy or distracted. That may very well be your bed, and if it is, kudos to you! Most people, though, cannot do work in bed without falling asleep. Try the kitchen island downstairs, or under that nice tree in your backyard, or just stick with the desk in your room. It doesn’t really matter where you work, as long as it works for you.
9. Work at the hard stuff when you’re at your best
We all know that magical feeling when you’re just a productivity goddess. That is the time to work on what will be your most challenging piece of homework that night. Instead of working on the easy–peasy guided notes, get started on your tricky math homework. You’ll be most efficient at this time and less likely to get frustrated at problem #22, when you start fresh and with motivation.
10. Just do it
I know it doesn’t seem this simple, but it truly is mind over matter. Tell yourself to stop being lazy and get out of your cozy chair. You know you’ll have to do it sooner or later, so why wait? Here is an inspirational video in case you need to help.
If you apply all, or even some, of these ideas, you’ll be thanking me later. I know there are a lot of procrastinators at SUA, and I hope these tips will help all of us out.