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How to prevent procrastination

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It’s difficult to totally stop procrastination but there are things we can do to devote our time to more important things than endless social media.

In this post, read about:

  • A surprising reason why overachievers may procrastinate
  • Realistic steps you can take to change your mindset and environment to optimize focus
  • Specific programs and techniques to prevent social media distractions on your phone and computer
Photo credits to KushandWisdom

You are not a terrible lazy person if you procrastinate. You are a perfectly normal person trying to do the best you can and you are not perfect all the time.

I attended a Procrastination Masterclass for Perfectionists held by Sam Brown who proposed that you might be procrastinating because you are a type A high achiever that has high standards for yourself and you’re working hard towards ambitious goals.

Reasons we might procrastinate on studying are:

  • We set standards too high and unrealistic for ourselves e.g. we expect to be studying every single minute for 12 hours straight.
  • Doing things other than studying seems more appealing and interesting
  • We feel lost and confused because the material is challenging and intimidating
  • We feel frustrated
  • Other negative emotions

According to Sam, avoiding studying and relying on cramming is a form of self-sabatoge. You’re afraid that you try your hardest and you fail. So instead, you procrastinate so if you do fail, you have an excuse to tell yourself e.g. “Oh I didn’t spend enough time studying”. Essentially, you know that you didn’t try your hardest so it feels acceptable that you failed because you can believe that if you did try your hardest, you would have succeeded.

We value decent grades and learning the material in courses well so we don’t want to self-sabotage. We want to truly put in the best effort we can and produce the best output possible.  So let’s try to implement some barriers to decrease the amount of time spent procrastinating. Notice that I said decrease not eliminate.

What changes to your study routine can boost your focus?
  1. Keep your big goals in mind. These could be: ace this final, get a good GPA, get into your dream professional or graduate school. And write out your big goals by hand often to remind yourself about what is important to you!
  2. Decide on the 2-3 important goals you will accomplish today. As a student, I only study 2-3 subjects a day rather than try to study for all 6 of my classes on the same day.
  3. Start with something short, easy and productive to feel good at the beginning of the day. I personally find that starting with something extremely difficult can deflate your motivation while starting with something doable can fire you up to accomplish more.
  4. Surround yourself with a motivated study buddy. Ask a friend to study with you to motivate each other to get lots done.
  5. Study outside of your room when you feel distractible. I personally love to study at school but coffee shops or your dorm’s lounge area are other options.
  6. Recognize what distracts you and set up barriers to accessing those distractions.
What barriers can you set up to prevent access to distractions?
  1. Block distractions on your phone using the app Freedom (http://bit.ly/2BnkHhg)
  2. Only open 2-3 programs at a time
  3. For computer distractions, install the Self-Control app for Macs and Cold Turkey or Stay Focused for PCs. Block Tumblr/Instagram/Facebook/and other distracting websites. But learn from my mistake, don’t disable Youtube or you’ll unable to watch videos posted by your professors.
  4. Kept your phone hidden in your backpack rather than up on the desk.
  5. Delete excess social media apps. You can keep the most important one or two to you but definitely delete apps that drain hours of your time that you could instead use to spend quality breaks with your friends and family.

Let me know which ones you like and any suggestions you have!

Hope your studying is awesome and you can achieve your target grade for your next exam!

Shanna