How to Avoid Procrastination and Make Your Schedule Work for You
By Lauren Penington
You start the essay, then realize it will be 11:59 within the hour, or even less, before the assignment locks. However, many times this is not a result of an overly busy workload, but poor planning and time management — or even avoiding the assignment altogether. In order to avoid the stress of late assignments or approaching deadlines, here are some easy ways to stay on top of the workload.
1. Make Priority Lists
Looking at a long list of everything due from tomorrow to next month can easily become overwhelming. To conquer the list and get what you need done, making certain assignments a priority can help ease the workload. For instance, if one item is due at midnight and another doesn’t need to be done until the following week, it only makes sense to complete the one due first prior to the one due second, even if the other project is bigger or more interesting. Making these lists can help you visualize your due dates and create a schedule that will best suit your needs for your classes, tests, and homework.
2. Utilize Your Time
It can feel as though we either need to finish the assignment in one sitting, or not do it at all. However, ten minutes every morning or a half hour after school can be just as productive as spending hours finishing the project in one sitting — perhaps even more, because it allows you the opportunity to work on a variety of projects/assignments that need completing, instead of just the one. Little amounts of productivity in random places add up quick, lessening the stress of the workload while allowing it to fit into your schedule, instead of having to change your routine to accommodate the work.
3. Set Mini-Deadlines for Yourself
Going along with the previous idea of not finishing the assignment in one go, it can be helpful to break up the assignment into parts and complete those on a miniaturized schedule that ends with the real due date. For instance, if you are assigned an essay on Friday, due in two weeks, then you might have a solid topic by Monday, a rough draft by Friday, and then spend time the following week editing the essay, getting feedback, and nicening up the work.
4. Take a Break
It does no good to overwork yourself. A tired, overworked brain can be just as bad as not doing the assignment altogether. A constant feeling of lethargy does little to inspire motivation. It may be helpful to time yourself and work on an interval schedule (for every half hour of studying, take a five minute break).
5. Make it Fun
Organize incentives to encourage productivity. Research has shown that the human brain responds well to stimulus and rewards, helpful in creating good habits. It certainly makes studying a lot more fun when you know there’s a reward at the end. The frequency of these incentives depend on the person. Some may enjoy a small treat at the end of every chapter, others may do it by assignment, while some may prefer one big celebration at the end of studying.