Procrastination is a slippery slope

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Nadia Fale

My name is Nadia, and I'm a procrastinator.

As the semester draws to a close, it’s time to face reality. Drowning in piles of unfinished homework assignments, half-written essays and more studying than any human could possibly accomplish, the diagnosis is clear. My name is Nadia, and I’m a procrastinator.

It starts all too innocently as you miss a class to have lunch with friends. One missed class turns into two, then four and before you know it you’re missing more classes than you’re attending. The longer you stay away and the more assignments you miss, the harder it gets to return. You find yourself playing a never-ending game of catch-up and it’s exhausting.

While it is far too late now to fix much of the damage (the semester is over!), here are some tips to remember in the future to avoid the slippery slope of procrastination.

Break it down

It’s January and your professor tells you that you have an essay due in April. Chances are you won’t even start thinking about that essay until March and the writing process won’t begin until the week that it’s due. Do yourself a favor and avoid pulling an all-nighter the day before your essay is due by giving yourself a series of mini deadlines. Breaking up your workload into small portions will make it a little more manageable and a lot less intimidating.

Get in the zone

Finding an ideal study zone is crucial in achieving focus and in turn, productivity. Study sessions on the comfy living room couch turn all too quickly into Netflix sessions while bedroom homework endeavors are often doomed to become afternoon naps. Eliminate distractions even if it means turning your cell phone off for a few hours. Experiment with different learning environments to find what works best for you.

Ask for help

In the event that you do fall behind, don’t be afraid to ask for help. More often than not, your professors want you to succeed but they can only help you if you let them know that you’re struggling. Communicating with your professor can often offer a sense of relief and motivate you to do better.

Know how to take breaks

Taking breaks, if done right, can enhance your overall study experience. It is natural for your brain to need a refresher after hours of focusing on a single task. However, it is important that you have set break times and limit the length and frequency that you take them. Breaks that are too long or too frequent will hinder your focus and the disrupt the flow of your studies. Try taking 10-15 minute breaks after every 45-90 minute period of studying and avoid falling into the trap of giving yourself “just five more minutes.”

Study buddies

Even if studying in groups isn’t your cup of tea, it helps to have a positive support system. Make friends that encourage you to do well in your classes and work to be that friend for others. Keep the type of company that will respect your need to skip out on a movie night to work on an essay and rather than guilt-tripping you, wishes you well and commends your efforts. True friends will make your best interests their priority and encourage you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.