Let’s be honest; everyone procrastinates. Still, it’s important for students to take proactive steps to keep from falling behind, and build good habits at a young age. Whether it’s putting off a project, waiting until the last minute to do your homework, or realizing that you haven’t studied for a test tomorrow, there likely have been a few late nights, close calls or missed opportunities because of procrastination. Don’t put it off any longer. Here are four ways you can avoid procrastination.
1. Eliminate distractions.
More often than not, we procrastinate because we get distracted by something else. The next time you start your homework, put your phone in another room. Or, better yet, give it to a parent until you finish. Getting rid of distractions allows you to stay focused on your task and be more productive. What would have taken you 45 minutes glancing at your phone every 10 seconds will take just 15 minutes without checking your phone.
If you are overloaded with assignments, you should get the most important and timely tasks out of the way first. By prioritizing what needs to be finished, you can take away the stress of being overwhelmed. Make a list, rank the items and create a plan to complete everything that you need to get done. Break everything down into bite-sized goals, so you can start checking them off.
3. Set deadlines.
We’re given deadlines at school and at work, but try giving yourself earlier due dates. Tell yourself that you are not allowed to go out until you have an assignment done. Or, break your projects down into sections, setting deadlines for each part. By dividing the work into pieces, you’ll force yourself to start sooner, and keep the work from piling up.
4. Take breaks.
We often believe we get the most done by sitting down and spending two to three hours working nonstop. However, taking a defined break every hour or so can help you recover your energy and be more productive when you go back to work. Try taking your dog for a walk or making yourself a snack for studying. But, be mindful that you don’t get distracted and turn your 10-minute break into an hourlong session of playing video games or scrolling through social media.
– Bryce Jones is a Woodstock High honors student who plays soccer and is involved in student government. He was a reporter for Scholastic Kids Press and a 2020 TEDx Speaker.