Overcoming Procrastination in Online Studies
Procrastination can lead to unwanted stress and anxiety and almost always prevents us from doing our best in school. Getting in the habit of following the steps below on a daily basis will help alleviate the effects of "last minute" studying.
Procrastination: Why You Shouldn’t Do It
All of us at one time or another have waited until the last minute to do something, whether it was doing the laundry, running errands, or doing a homework assignment for school. Procrastination tends to most often occur because we would rather do something more enjoyable than the tasks we leave to the last possible minute. Lounging around watching TV, reading an intriguing book, or even taking a nap are much more appealing than doing chores or homework. In the moment this seems like the most ideal approach, however, in the long run procrastination just leads to stress, anxiety, and sometimes guilt.
Understanding how to prioritize our daily tasks is just the first step in eliminating the harmful effects of procrastination. This is most important to realize for those who wish to do well in school, especially those who are taking online courses and programs. Leaving a homework assignment, research project, or studying for an exam until the night before it is due will just lead to more procrastination. Once someone feels they can get away with doing things at the last minute they tend to continue to do so with future tasks and assignments and then all of the sudden it catches up to them. By doing this, the quality of work is severely diminished since the appropriate time for research, work, and thought are not sufficient to give 100 percent. If you wish to just get by with mediocrity in school then perhaps procrastinating won’t kill you, but if you truly wish to succeed you cannot afford to do things at the last minute.
Tips to Overcome Procrastination:
- Write down the due date of the assignment(s) someplace you will see it several times each day (i.e. bathroom mirror, desk, refrigerator, etc.)
- Prioritize your assignments. Heavier weighted assignments don’t have to be overwhelming. Divide it into parts and do one section at a time.
- Set goals to start, work on, and finish your assignments
- Planning is key. Every day or night decide how much work on each assignment you must get done in order to finish the assignment by its due date. Think to yourself that spending 30 minutes every day on an assignment for a few weeks is much much more manageable to handle than spending 8 straight hours the day before. The assignment may present unforeseen problems that may not be overcome if you wait until the last minute
- Make a contract with yourself stating that you will not participate in any leisurely activities until the pre-determined amount of work has been done for a particular assignment that day. For example, spending two hours a day on a research paper and then rewarding yourself by watching TV for an hour is a much better system than spending 8 hours a day three days before the paper is due only being able to take 15 minute breaks. Your body and mind need time to recoup and we tend to do poorly when we are under so much pressure.
- Begin studying for exams on the first day of class. This is accomplished as you keep up with your assignments and readings, which will in turn help you recall the material when reviewing for the test thus avoiding any unnecessary cramming. Also remember to take breaks when studying for midterms and exams. A fifteen or twenty minute break every couple of hours is sufficient.
- Remember good habits are just as easily obtained as bad habits are. Consistent and steady methods will lead you down either pathway; it is ultimately up to you to decide which one to follow.