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Do you procrastinate? Most of us put things off from time to time, like when we're supposed to be studying for a test or starting our lengthy research paper assignments. But giving in to diversions can really hurt us in the long run.
Procrastination is like a little white lie we tell ourselves. We think we'll feel better if we do something fun, like watch a TV show, instead of studying or reading.
But when we give in to the urge to put off our responsibilities, we always feel worse in the long run, not better. And what's worse, we end up doing a poor job when we finally get started on the task at hand!
Those who procrastinate the most are usually performing below their potential.
Do you spend too much time on things that don't matter? You may be a procrastinator if you:
- Feel the impulse to clean your room before you get started on a project.
- Rewrite the first sentence or paragraph of a paper several times, repeatedly.
- Crave a snack as soon as you sit down to study.
- Spend too much time (days) to decide on a topic.
- Carry books around all the time, but never open them to study.
- Get angry if a parent asks “Have you started yet?”
- Always seem to find an excuse to avoid going to the library to start on the research.
You probably did relate to at least one of those situations. But don't be hard on yourself! That means you are perfectly normal. The key to success is this: it is important that you don't allow these diversion tactics to affect your grades in a bad way. A little procrastination is normal, but too much is self-defeating.
How can you battle the urge to put things off? Try the following tips.
- Recognize that a feisty little voice lives inside every one of us. He tells us it would be rewarding to play a game, eat, or watch TV when we know better. Don't fall for it!
- Think about the rewards of accomplishments, and put reminders around your study room. Is there a specific college you want to attend? Put the poster right over your desk. That will serve as a reminder to be your best.
- Work out a reward system with your parent. There may be a concert you're dying to go to, or a new coat you've spotted in the mall. Make a deal with your parents way ahead of time- make an agreement that you can receive the reward only if you reach your goals. And stick to the deal!
- Start with small goals if you're facing a big assignment. Don't get overwhelmed by the big picture. Accomplishment feels great, so set small goals first, and take it day by day. Set new goals as you go.
- Finally, give yourself time to play! Set aside a special time to do whatever you want. Afterward, you'll be ready to get to work!
- Find a study partner who will help you stay on track. Meet regularly to discuss your commitments and deadlines. It's a strange thing about human nature: we might be willing to let ourselves down easily enough, but we hesitate to disappoint a friend.
- Give yourself ten minutes or so to clean your space before you get started. The urge to clean as a procrastination tactic is common and it is based on the fact that our brains desire the feeling of "starting with a clean slate." Go ahead and organize your space--but don't take too much time.
Still find yourself putting off those important projects? Discover More Procrastination Tips to help you manage your time effectively.