I used to be the kind of person who procrastinated (and I mean really badly) in school. It was a problem that I had experienced for a long time. As school became increasingly difficult, my procrastination became more of an issue that needed to be addressed. After school and in my first year of university, I started to learn so much about myself, about the things that motivated me and how I needed to balance my time in order to be more productive and stop procrastinating. 

One of the biggest things I discovered about myself was that I actually thrived on pressure. Whenever I experienced pressure, I was able to work faster, harder and more efficiently. It was at this point that I decided to get a job on top of the tutoring job I already had at university and on top of the work I already needed to complete during this time… and boy did I feel the pressure! Oddly enough, marks skyrocketed and I was actually accomplishing so much more than I was able to before.

The trick here was just that I had better time management. I improved my time management not because I wanted to, but because I needed to and this helped me to stop procrastinating.

I was so overwhelmed with work that nothing would be done right if I didn’t plan properly. Of course, this couldn’t last forever and I was only able to keep up this high workload for around two years before it became too much to handle, but I had discovered the trick to managing my time well. I definitely do not recommend that you try and juggle different things like I did to help you manage your time better. It wasn’t a healthy thing to do, but I can teach you the things that I learnt during this time. 

Track your time to stop procrastinating

Sometimes just tracking what you’re spending your time on can really help motivate you to better manage your time and stop procrastinating. For example, you might realise that you’re spending way too much time on your History project and you haven’t even started preparing for your Geography project!

Something helpful that we do at Advantage Learn is write down:

  1. What we did yesterday
  2. What we didn’t get to yesterday 
  3. What we plan to complete today

By visually showing what you were able to accomplish the day before, it can help you to see that you are actually getting through the “mountain” of work that you thought would be impossible to get though! Being able to see what you didn’t complete the day before can help motivate you to keep things off the “what I didn’t get to” list. 

Finally, listing the things you plan on doing for today gives you a great snapshot of how your day is going to look and can help you prioritise your work. 

Split up big tasks into smaller ones

One of the biggest reasons why having a snapshot of your day is helpful is because it allows you to split bigger tasks into smaller ones. This enables you to focus on these smaller tasks rather than focusing on the big one, which may feel overwhelming. Overwhelm is a huge contributor to procrastination and in order to stop procrastinating, you’ll need to address this feeling of overwhelm. An example of this is writing  “complete question 2 of physics project” on your daily list of tasks. It’s so much more manageable to see this written on your to-do list rather than a more general “work on the physics project.” 

Use a timer to lower procrastination

I know this may seem like way too much work but if you’re a perfectionist like me, sometimes when you start doing your work, it can take you a lot longer to complete each section because you’re trying to make them perfect. It can be helpful to work quickly through all the questions, even if they’re not perfect and then go back to fix up the sections once you’re done with your entire project or with your homework. Time blocking really helps here – dedicate a specific amount of time to each section and don’t spend more time on it than that the first time you go through your assignment.

Blocking time out and sticking to it can help if you’re a perfectionist, but if you’re one who tends to procrastinate, something that works well is planning your answers. Whether you’re answering a question in your project or answering homework questions, sometimes it helps to go through the questions and briefly plan out your answers by jotting down headings or the page numbers of your textbook next to the questions so that when you answer them from the top, it feels like you have more guidance. Planning your answers can help you to stop procrastinating.

Monthly, weekly and daily view 

Having a daily view of your time like I mentioned above is great! The only issue with this is that it sometimes keeps your focus too narrow and you forget the big things that are coming up. 

It’s helpful to balance this view by possibly keeping track of what your week is going to look like and what your month is going to look like. This will help you to prioritise your work where you need to. Remember that, although you’re planning your time out so that you can manage it better, you still need to be flexible. 

Find a unique solution to stop procrastinating

We’re all different so you may find that you will have to adapt these to suit your needs. You could download an app on your phone that tracks your projects, tasks and homework or just use the built-in calendar on your phone. 

The great thing about a digital calendar is that you can usually set up push notifications and reminders that will go off whenever you’ve scheduled to complete a new task. It also allows you to make changes more easily by moving tasks out by a day. On the other hand, you may find that writing things down helps you to remember the things you have to do better. 

Time management is different for everyone and I personally find that using a combination of written planners and digital planners works best for me. Remember that it doesn’t matter whether you’re an average student or an A+ student, we are all capable of learning and growing and you can certainly turn your marks around if they’re not the best right now. If I can do it, so can you! 

Share your time management tips with us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. I’d love to learn how you were able to stop procrastinating.

This article was originally published on 18 May 2020

About the author
Mekayla Preiss

I am a Copywriter and Content Creator for AdvantageLearn.com. I enjoy getting creative and have a passion for people and crafting compelling content, I hope to inspire the next generation of learners and changemakers.

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