McAdvice: Procrastination

Image by Kyle Parks.

Everybody procrastinates; it’s common in the life of a college student. Unfortunately, most of us procrastinate too much and everything catches up to us. Well, I have the cure for that, hopefully. Follow these steps, and your procrastination problems will disappear!

1. Get an agenda, or something of the like, and write everything there—tests, papers, classes, bathroom stops, etc. Just write anything you might forget. This will be your day-to-day to-do list.

2. Prioritize things in your agenda. Don’t actually fill it with unimportant tasks, like bathroom stops (even though I just told you to do so). Only put things that are hugely important; if you miss out on something that isn’t too important, then you haven’t missed much.

One good way to prioritize is to color coordinate. Highlight high priority assignments in red so that they get your attention, highlight some less priority things in other colors, and so on. Make sure that as soon as a professor starts listing out things that are due, you take out your agenda and you write them down. Another good tip would be to sit down at your desk at the beginning of each semester with your syllabi, and write down all assignments/tests and their dates.

3. Treat yourself! Make it a plan to give yourself a small reward once you’re done doing something. Get through page five of a paper? Eat some candy. Done with a project? Watch a little bit of Netflix. But be sure that you do not get too distracted or else the reward system will be count-productive.

Another study system that may work is to do a study technique called Pomodoro, a technique in which you set a timer for 25 minutes, and you work through those minutes without distractions. After that time, you take a short five or ten minute break. Once the break is over, you get right back to 25 minutes of work. After every fourth 25 minute block, you take a much longer and well deserved 25-30 minute break. You repeat this process until you’re done. Not too difficult right?

4. Get in the rhythm of checking your agenda daily and doing Pomodoro when you’re working. According to a study made by University College London, it takes around 66 days to develop a habit. One way to keep up with checking your agenda is to set daily alarms on your phone. I know you’re almost always on your phone (I bet you’re on your phone while reading this), so why not use the most distracting tool in the world for good?

By setting daily alarms, your phone will bug you into submission, and make you check your agenda. This is going to be the hardest part of breaking your procrastination habit, so don’t fall behind. But do remember how good it will feel when your assignments are done on time and you have time to sleep, play video games, or do whatever you want to do without the doom of an incoming assignment hovering over you.

So all it takes to get on top of your game is an agenda, a timer, a phone, and 66 days. Doesn’t seem too difficult right? Now that we have a solution, I think we can sit back, relax, and stop procrastinating…tomorrow.