<-- This is me! I am one of those strange people who produces my best work in a 'deadline-induced panic'. I have spent weeks perfecting my essays to receive some of my lowest grades as an undergrad, and forty-eight hours writing some of my best work.
However, that was as an undergraduate. Now as an MA English Literature student, I am currently staring at the print-out on my wall of 'important dates' and the panic is setting in. Naturally, that meant it was the perfect time to write this article on procrastination as the best way to procrastinate!
So top tips for beating procrastination here we go!
1. GET UP NOW! (not right now, finish reading first :p)
Stretch, run on the spot, wash the dishes, but Netflix or YouTube does not have the answers to your problems!
2. CREATE A TIMETABLE
This can be an alternative means of procrastination OR you can make it realistic and manageable. Don't cram 5,000,000 things onto it but set aside time to read that journal article or finish the chapter of critical reading that you've been putting off.
3. WAKE UP EARLY
Even though we are in the middle of movie season (December/January) you need to make sure that you do not waste your day sleeping. Often, we tend to save our work for the evening or decide to read in bed, but this can cause major problems. Psychologists have often said 'save bed for sleeping (or other bed-related activities) but don't do anything that stimulates the brain'. I find that when I promise myself that I will finish the last chapter in bed, I wake up in the morning and probably read a page before sleep came over me.
4. AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA
Isn't it funny how we can scroll through Instagram pages for hours or watch endless YouTube videos, but academic research makes us tired? Not funny haha, but funny 'why me??'
Thankfully, Apple likes to keep us updated with our screen-time and the best way to not burst into tears, is to turn the notifications off! Leave a status, tell the people closest to you that you are disappearing for a little while or better yet, set a target for yourself.
5. WHAT IS THE TARGET?
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good (Harry Potter snuck in there!) Promise yourself that you will go out for that meal, watch the new movie that you've been dying to see or paint the town red AFTER you have completed at least three of your most important tasks. Note: not the night before a deadline though!
6. DO THE HARDEST THINGS FIRST
I have had to read a 683 page book (that I should have read in the first semester) for my assignment due in on 13th January. I was really tempted to put it off until the end but now that I have finished it (YAYYYYYY!!) the rest of my to-do list looks manageable.
7. SET SHORT DEADLINES
- I will read 50 pages before I make a cup of tea
- I will make notes on one journal article before I watch TV
- I will read 'She' by the end of the week
These smaller tasks will lead to a good foundation of setting yourself tasks and completing them, rather than feeling like a failure because you didn't read the 683 pages in one go!
8. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Academia is an interesting world. When I took a break from my own academic studies, I yearned to be back at uni, pouring over books in the Brotherton Library and writing my dissertation thesis. However, I need to remind myself when I am tired, OR the washing pile is growing, OR I can't be bothered to cook that I really WANT this. I am doing this for me and if I carry on procrastinating then it is only ME that I am letting down. There is ample opportunity to watch that series, go on that night out or sleep, ONCE you have successfully mastered your goals. Don't put the 'pro' in procrastination.
And on that note, I am going to start brainstorming my assignment!!