4 Surefire Ways to Avoid Procrastination
1. Use an Agenda
This may seem like an obvious one, but my agenda is my life-saver! I suggest taking a few minutes out of your day to look through all of your syllabi and make note of any due dates. Not only should you write due dates down on your weekly spreads, but also on the monthly spreads. The monthly spreads make it easier to see how close or how far the due date is. You can even spice up your planner with stickers and make it #plannergoals like the one above.
2. Write Yourself Little Love Notes
This ties in with the agenda. I like to write myself little notes, so I'll remember to start an assignment. For example, let's say my assignment is due Nov. 3; in late September/early October, I'll go through my planner and write notes every few days. I'll start out with one to two notes per week and increase the amount as the due date gets closer. They don't have to be super long notes. I keep it simple: "Hey, you might want to at least outline your psych project" or "The clock is ticking, you only have a week left."
3. Don't Do It All at Once
If you have a 10-page paper to write and you just dive into it, odds are you're going to give up before page one is done. You have to dip your toes in the water first. Try doing a page or two a day. This means you have to start it at least a week before the due date, not the night before. This also works for studying and reading. If you have 50 terms to study, make a few flashcards a day instead of all 50 at once. Or if you have to read a chapter that's 40 pages long, don't sit down right before class and try to read it all! Read a couple of pages everyday.
4. Timed Intervals
I think we're all guilty of getting distracted by our phones or computers. When setting timed intervals, it's a little easier to avoid that distraction. Before I start any work, I make myself a list of things I have to do, and next to it, I write a set start and end time (ex. 7 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.). I suggest overestimating a little. This will ensure that you have enough time; plus you'll feel good about yourself if you finish earlier than the end time. I usually give myself five to 10-minute breaks in between every two or three tasks, so it's not work, work and more work! Giving myself the little time in between also helps fight the urge to use my phone while I'm actually doing the assignments.
I know what you're probably thinking: "These won't help! I'll be a procrastinator forever!!!" But seriously, try them out. They've helped me a lot. I no longer spend my Sundays writing 15-page papers due the next day!