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10 tips for Managing Procrastination

1. Know it when you see it:

There are days when you know exactly when, why, and how you're procrastinating. Other times, it's a little harder to tell. Convincing yourself that you can do less if you accept a lower grade or substituting one activity (like cleaning) for a more important one (like studying) are as much forms of procrastination as watching TV or hanging out with friends just before something is due. If you want to stop procrastinating, you have to recognize when you're doing it.

2. Be positive:

Taking a positive approach to whatever it is that you're doing can help motivate you and will reduce procrastination. Instead of thinking that you have to do something, tell yourself that you choose to do it. When you succeed at a task, acknowledge your hard work and don't pass it all off as good luck.

3. Overcome perfectionism:

The quest to be perfect isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Perfectionism can cause high stress levels and lower your productivity, which can lead to procrastination. Accept the fact that none of us will ever be perfect. Accomplishing the goals you set out for yourself is what makes you successful, even if you occasionally stumble along the way.

4. Set clear goals:

Setting clear and meaningful goals can help you to focus your energy. A general rule for setting realistic goals is to make sure you allot your time accordingly. Think honestly about how much time it'll take to get a job done, then double it. Remember, things won't always work out the way you planned. By monitoring your progress and making the necessary adjustments to your schedule, you'll accomplish more than you thought possible.

5. Prioritize:

With so many opportunities to do new and exciting things on campus, it's easy to put studying off to another day. Avoid giving in to impulsiveness by writing down all the things that you have to get done. Rate each item on a scale of 1 to 5 and focus on finishing the higher priority tasks before the lower ones.

6. Break it down:

Big projects can be overwhelming and might lead to procrastination if you don't know where to start or if you think there's simply too much to do. Rather than tackling a huge project all at once, work on smaller sections of the task over a longer period of time.

7. Pick your spot:

If you're not getting anything done at home, get out! Similarly, if you're running in to too many people you know, or there are too many distractions to keep you focused, find a more suitable environment to work in.

8. Get organized:

Plan a detailed daily schedule with blocks of time set aside during the day for different tasks. Setting up in advance prepares you mentally for accomplishing the activity. While you can't predict when an unexpected event might throw you off track, building flexibility into your schedule will keep you from falling behind. If you can, avoid arranging blocks of work back-to-back. Instead, plan to take breaks between activities.

9. Set reminders:

Once you get the hang of it, scheduling all the stuff you have to do is fairly easy. The hard part is actually doing it! Leave yourself easy-to-see reminders to keep you focused on the task at hand. Put them on the TV, your bedroom door, the bathroom mirror, or anywhere else where you can't miss them.

10. Reward yourself:

Rewarding yourself for finishing even the smallest task on your list of things to do serves two purposes: it makes you aware that managing procrastination is a process with several steps and it motivates you to do more. Promise yourself phone time, TV time, a get-together with friends, or anything else that you consider a reward.


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