It’s the middle of the fourth week of class for many of us at Colorado State University. Like me, you’ve probably gotten into the groove of completing your reading and assignments before watching or attending lectures. You’ve probably also been participating in the online discussion boards and are familiar with how your professors utilize Canvas.
Now it’s time to buckle down and focus on the papers, projects, exams, and other larger assignments with fast-approaching deadlines. What’s the first thing you do when you know you have a project deadline drawing near? Is it that evil word that many of us have a troublesome relationship with, “Procrastination”?
Not long ago I read an article about the positive effects of procrastination, but we all know that eventually we will need to get the project done, so here are three tips to help you get started and focus your energy on the task at hand.
- Set aside a block of time. When you have a family, friends, work, and school, it’s hard enough to balance everything. With a major project, it’s key to set aside a block of time to work on nothing else. You can do it all at once, or split it up over the course of a few days, however you study best.Decide how much time you will need to complete the assignment and also how much time you are capable of spending before taking a break or stopping for the day. Add some extra time onto your estimate and block out that amount of time on your calendar or daily planner.Make sure you utilize that time you’ve set aside. Don’t put it off and tell yourself you’ll have time later. Make sure you keep the promise to yourself that you’ll use that time for your project so you can get it done.
- Avoid Distractions. It’s hard to focus when you have distractions. If you are at home with your family, you will want to spend time with them, which is great, but you need to focus on your homework. The more focused you are, the faster you can complete your task, and the sooner you can hang out with your family and friends.At your house you also have other things that probably need to be done that can arise as distractions when you are procrastinating. For instance, that closet that hasn’t been cleaned out for years? Here’s a hint – now isn’t a good time to think about starting to clean it.Find your favorite study location in your house and make sure it has the fewest amount of distractions possible. Make sure it’s somewhere you will be comfortable for as much time as it will take to finish your assignment. Turn your phone on vibrate, turn off your email, and get rid of any other possible disturbances.
- Make a list of what you need to do. I love lists. They make it easy to know exactly what you need to accomplish. If you have multiple projects you need to work on or if you have a number of criteria you need to remember when completing your project, write it all down. This will allow you to make sure that you are following the correct processes and suggestions provided by your professor.It’s also a great sense of accomplishment when you are able to cross off your completed tasks. Not only will you feel relief and satisfaction, you will also feel confident that your project meets your professor’s requirements.You can also use your list to create an outline of all of the ideas you’d like to incorporate in your project or the topics you’ll need to study for your upcoming exams. Your list can be comprised of whatever will help you have a successful study session.
Don’t get too stressed out – that will lead to further procrastination and will create a more difficult time for you to focus on your studying. Just relax, take a deep breath, and reassure yourself that you will get it done, it’s just a matter of focusing your energy.
Good luck on your studying this semester!
Do you have any additional tips on what helps you complete your assignments and fight the urge to procrastinate? Share your tricks with us!