Student Exam Periods: Procrastination Eradication23/04/2014
We’re all familiar with the feeling; times running out and your assignment or revision is crying out for attention. You’re starting to panic and you know that the countdown is on its way. If you’re thinking ‘how did this happen again!?’ Then there’s no way about it. You are a procrastinator. Yes, you put things off until the last minute, you haven’t even thought about getting organised and you’re even considering cleaning every corner of your room just so you feel the least bit better about wasting your time.
You’re not the only one. According to Dr Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at a Chicago university, about 20% of us are chronic procrastinators. That’s a huge number of us that put things off until we’re on the verge of pulling our hair out because we’re too fearful of getting it done in the first place. Just think what could do with all that time we’ve wasted over the year. Anyway, the good news is that there are ways to manage it and get the best out of our time.
Choose the right working environment
It’s so easy to think we can get away with working from the comfort of our cosy beds, laptop in hand but have you ever met a single person who’s produced a first class assignment in that way? You need to get in the right head space and the only way you can do that is by physically putting yourself in an environment that facilitates a productive day and you can be assured that the rest will follow. Make sure you’re sat by a desk with all the tools you need at the ready. If even the library has too many distractions, choosing the right accommodation might be what you need to do. Downing Student Accommodation offer sleek, specially designed and well maintained rooms so that your focus can always remain on your studies.
Create a plan and stick to it
Break your work or revision down into a simple, manageable pieces. If we don’t have a plan we can over think tasks and make them a much bigger deal then they actually are. By making a plan I mean write it down, make a flow chart if you need to, just get it all in one place so that in those moments when you’re lacking two brain cells to rub together, you have all those ideas ready and waiting. It’s much easier to tackle sections than the piece as a whole and you’re planning will be much clearer to the reader.
Revision Tip! Don’t forget to use colour. Research shows that the use colour has a significant effect on our memory abilities.
Different people learn in different ways and if you haven’t established your learning style by now you may want to try the various styles to find out what makes you a more efficient learner. The most commonly used learning model is that of Neil Fleming (1978):
Visual Learning Style – You prefer to learn through reading and looking at images and maps. Best Practices: Use visuals and plenty of colour when you learn.
Auditory Learning Style – You prefer to learn through listening and speaking. Best Practices: Listen to podcasts, download audio books and read out loud when you’re alone.
Kinesthetic Learning Style - You prefer to learn by doing rather than looking at the theory. Best Practices: Don’t limit yourself to the classroom. Include physical activity in your study.
Read/Write Learning Style – You may prefer to learn through reading and then practicing. Best Practices: Write down what you’ve learnt from reading and explain your findings out loud.
There’s no point being too harsh on yourself or you’re just going to put it off again next time. You’ve made your plan and you deserve a reward for sticking to it. Apart from feeling on top of it, simple positive reinforcement can work wonders and help you to feel better about the work ahead. Let your brain have a break and feel a bit more refreshed coming back to it. Just be careful about going on your phone; going over your allotted ‘escape time’ happens way too easy with distractions like this and can knock you out of sync.
Above all, just think how great you’ll feel when you’re done. Keep it in the back of your mind so that when you’re feeling a bit fatigued, you have your goal in sight. If anything, just fill the empty space on the page and you’ll soon get into the flow of writing. Sometimes just getting going is all you need!