Procrastination is the little devil that sits on your shoulder whispering sweet nothings about Netflix binges as you stare down at all the work you need to get done.
We all have good intentions and want to stay ahead of the game, to be organised and to get things done, especially at University where deadlines are looming and exams are just around the corner.
Beating procrastination and being productive at university or in life generally is not an easy task. I’ve put together some tips that may just get you on the right track.
How to beat procrastination at University
1. Get a journal and set yourself weekly goals
A journal/diary will be your most invaluable tool to keep track of all the things you have to do. Set yourself targets, with small, daily, actionable goals that you can work towards. Be realistic. Write it down in BIG BOLD LETTERS and lay it in front of you as you work to create that sense of urgency.
2. Create a VISION BOARD
Create a visual motivator of all the things you want to achieve in life, whether it’s during your university experience or after it. Fill your board cutouts from magazines and newspapers, with quotes and affirmations, your dream job, your purpose, healthy food and your favourite sports.
Put your vision board somewhere you can see it every day so that you never forget the promises you made to yourself. Think of the END RESULT and remind yourself of where you want to be one day
Need some inspiration for your vision board? Pinterest is the place to go!
3. Find your quiet study space
Find a space where you feel Zen and where there are no distractions. Sometimes, that space could be your bedroom, but we all know we can never be truly productive when our bed is right there tempting us with an afternoon nap.
Your space could be the library or a quiet coffee shop or a spot under a tree in the park. Find the place that works for you and go there to work.
4. Shut off all technology
Put the phone as far away from you ask possible, disable WhatsApp on your laptop and keep off of Facebook and Instagram for the time that you’ve set to get work done. It’s all too easy to open up social media and get stuck in a social media black hole for hours.
5. Start with the big important stuff
You may feel inclined to get the simple stuff out of the way first, but if you tackle the harder work first, you’ll have the most energy to get it done. Not only that, but you’ll focus more, so the result will be better. Then you can relax a bit and work on the easier things.
6. Put on some soothing background music or white noise
Different sounds work for different people. Some people enjoy listening to hard rock to get them into their study space. Personally, I prefer something a little calmer to get me in the study zone and to drown out any noises around me.
My favourite website to use for background noise when I need to concentrate is Noisli.com where you can create your own blend of sounds to make your perfect relaxation soundscape. I like to create a thunderstorm effect.
Otherwise, the Calm app on iPhone and android has similar sounds to drown out any noise around you.
7. Meditate, have a workout and stay hydrated
If you feel like you can’t concentrate and you’re in the mood to procrastinate, it’s sometimes best to just listen to your body if it’s telling you it can’t do this right now. So use this time to refocus your brain in another way.
Hit the gym, go for a run, do some yoga or just sit and meditate for an hour, realign your moods and your focus so that you can get back to work. And don’t forget to stay hydrated!
8. Accept that sometimes, you just can’t beat it
Maybe you just need a day off, and that’s okay too.
It’s about quality over quantity anyway, so if you’re creating something or working with a negative mindset your work will never be the best it can be. Do what you have to do to ride it out.
Watch an episode of that show, take a nap or eat that packet of Oreos. Then go to bed, knowing that tomorrow is a brand new day where you get to try again.
Procrastination is a bug that will bite us so long as there is work to be done and deadlines to be met. Just know that everyone else feels it too, you’re not alone, you just have to find what works for you to get over it.
Nothing ever comes easy, so do your future self a favour and get started today!
Sit back, grab some Oreos, and let’s see what life has to offer us next.