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10 Ways for Students to Combat Procrastination in the New Year

by Tim Brunicardi on January 18, 2018

A new year, a new semester. And it’s easy to start off a new semester with every intention of giving your education your full and undivided attention; however, it’s also hard not to get sidetracked and begin postponing those responsibilities to the point of unintentionally putting your grades at risk.

In the interest of preventing undergraduates from giving in to the temptations of procrastination, we've rounded up 10 ways to help college students make 2019 a more productive year.

1. Never Use "But I Just Don't Feel Ready" as an Excuse

Regardless if you’re faced with writing a term paper or studying for a big test, using “But I just don’t feel ready” as your alibi to practice procrastination is a poor choice that will cause both you and your GPA to suffer. Instead try telling yourself, “Even though I may not feel ready, I’m going to give it a try anyways.”

new years resolution-studying.jpg

2. Don't Let Perfectionism Stand Between You & Success

Perhaps one of the most popular excuses among students for postponing research papers is the fear that the work they produce won’t be good enough to meet their own standards. Rather than take the stance of “If I can’t write a perfect paper then why bother writing anything at all,” you might want to change your attitude and tell yourself, “trying my best is far more important than achieving perfection.”

3. Don't Tolerate Indecision

When faced with the prospect of having to do research for a term paper, it’s a very normal reaction for a students to feel unsure about how to go about beginning this task. However, if you’re still unsure about how to proceed the day before the paper is due, this is a clear sign that you’ve allowed your inability to make a decision dictate your actions (or there lack of). Instead of wasting precious time pondering where to begin, why not simply pick a direction and go for it.

4. Avoid Overthinking Tasks

Many times the more thought a student puts into an upcoming school assignment the more overwhelming it can become. Therefore, try not to overthink about any projects you’ve been assigned. By doing this you'll be less likely to perceive them as being more complicated than they actually are.

5. Make a Copy of Every Syllabus

Making a copy of every syllabus from your classes and placing them in a safe and easily accessible location can help you combat procrastination on many levels. Perhaps the most significant of these is if you happen to misplace a specific syllabus you’ll always have a copy on hand to remind you of upcoming assignments, hence giving you no excuses to postpone any of your academic duties.

6. Keep Post-It Notes Handy

Yes, scribbling down notes to remind yourself about an upcoming quiz, test or term paper in a notebook is a convenient way to keep track of your assignments. But as all college students know, many times it’s very easy for notebooks to somehow get new years resolution- calendar.jpgmisplaced. Therefore, writing the same information down on a brightly colored Post-It note will make it harder for you to potentially lose, and therefore prevent you, from putting off any obligations you’re required to fulfill.

7. Maintain a Wall or Desk Calendar

Even though programming your phone to send you notifications when a test is coming up might be convenient, you always run the risk of not getting these reminders till the eleventh hour. Having an actual physical calendar that you see every day and keeping it up-to-date is a guaranteed way to make sure you stay on top of all your assignments. Plus wall and desk calendars give you a secure location to place all those Post-It notes you’ve hopefully been writing reminders on.

8. Divide Big Projects into Smaller Ones

As anyone who has ever purposely delayed studying for an exam until the night before it was scheduled probably already knows that last minute cram sessions don’t typically result in students getting a passing grade. By breaking the material off into smaller sections will help make the idea of preparing for a test far less intimidating and time-consuming.

9. Avoid Anti-Productive Behaviors

Oversleeping, wasting time on the internet and partying to avoid working on assignments are bad habits that can very easily damage not only your GPA, but your physical and mental health as well. In many cases the best defense against giving into anti-productive behaviors involves simply recognizing those behaviors as being negative, acknowledging the risk they pose, and then making a conscious decision to replace them with healthier habits.

10. Don't Dwell on Past Failures

Of all the potential New Year's resolutions for college students to have, this one is perhaps the hardest to uphold. While it’s only natural to feel regret over tests you may have failed, it's best to leave them in the past where they belong. Dwelling on them will only give you a defeatist attitude and an excuse to procrastinate next semester. Stop beating yourself up over things you can’t change, learn from your mistakes, and consider making 2019 the best year yet.

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