The following is a guest blog from one of our new interns at Raeallan, Katrina Van.
How to Stop Procrastinating
Have you ever felt that sinking feeling in your stomach while realizing that assignment that you should have started a week ago is due tomorrow? You start to panic, trying to calculate how much sleep you’re going to get, figuring out how to stay up past 2:00am, and profusely cursing yourself over and over again: “Why did I procrastinate? I knew this was going to happen. Never again!” Good news, you’re not alone, “in North America, over 70% of students exhibit this behaviour.” The most common reason why most of us have done it is that we are scared of failure. We’re paralyzed by the idea of trying our best and doing a terrible job, resulting in disappointing others and ourselves. So instead, we avoid it for as long as possible so that if it doesn’t meet certain expectations, we can just blame it on the short amount of time we had to complete it in. It’s an addicting cycle of denial, excuses, self-hatred, cramming, and relief. But don’t be fooled, not every procrastinator is the same; your studying habits reflect how you choose to procrastinate.
So what kind of studier are you? Keep in mind you can be a combination of different types. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stop procrastinating and start studying for the upcoming midterms.
1. The Shush-er
WHO: These people hate noise when they’re working and they are not afraid to “shhh” anyone eating, talking, walking, or chewing their gum too loudly. When it’s silent, they can work for hours on end and everyone else in the vicinity is secretly thankful for the Shush-er, because without them, chaos would ensue.
DO: You’re usually the go-getter so you already know what to do and what places to go, you know what works and what doesn’t. Use earplugs and help the rest of us, please!
2. The Free Spirit
WHO: These ones excel in either some kind of art or skill that makes them rely on their creativity and inspiration to do well in school. Their emotions and mental state drive their work, so multiple choice questions may not be their strong point.
DO: Change your environment to experience more and get inspired by your surroundings and other people. This is especially important if you get stuck or the idea or thought is not going to come to you where you are. You have to make yourself available to take it and run. To study for multiple choice: know the definitions, understand the concepts and organization of each chapter. That way, you will have a clear map of theories to apply.
3. The Bullsh!tter
WHO: We all know one. They can talk their way out of anything through diversion, flattery, excuses, vague facts, and lies. Usually excel at multiple-choice questions, essays, and making you do things you didn’t want to do. Not the best at True/False questions.
DO: Stop making assumptions about what you know and don’t know and start learning the content thoroughly. It won’t always be this easy.
4. The Drummer
WHO: These people can’t work in complete silence; they need some white noise whether it’s music in their headphones, the murmurs of a coffee shop, or the TV playing downstairs. The problem is that those things can turn into distractions very quickly if they lose focus.
DO: If you’re in a place with distractions, put your headphones on but don’t turn on the music. That way you have white noise without potential distractions. If there’s people over at your house, study in the basement. Make sure to keep yourself in check or else you’ll be reading the same sentence over and over again 10 times while listening to Macklemore.
5. The IDGAF (I Don’t Give A F**k)
WHO: These people have no motivation for school and genuinely don’t care anymore. Whether it’s the cause of difficult family circumstances, a bad breakup, or a series of unfortunate events, these people are completely, and utterly, D-O-N-E.
DO: E-mail your professor, some of them will understand. Tell your friends and classmates that you’re going through a rough time and ask for their notes or advice on how to study. Every class and professor is different, your friends know what’s going on and they can help you figure it out. Realize that the world is not going to stop just to wait for you. Sometimes life sucks and there’s not much you can do about it. Just remember that how you face hardships defines who you are.
6. The Trickster
WHO: “For every chapter I read today, I will have two cookies.” “If I don’t do any readings today, I won’t watch that new episode of Parks & Recreation.” “For every paragraph I read, I can have a gummy bear.” They know how to trick themselves into taking action.
DO: Be careful in how you motivate yourself. There’s a difference between making a deal and rewarding yourself. One is destructive while the other is beneficial. When you make a deal with yourself but don’t do any readings, you might start to pity yourself because you feel cheated out of the reward when you didn’t do anything. Rewarding yourself is different because there is no expectation for you to receive it; it’s a prize for a job well done.
7. The Zombie
WHO: You see them on Monday and they look perfectly fine and dandy. On Tuesday, they say they’ll write that 20% paper later. It’s due on Friday. By Wednesday, they’ve realized how much they have to do and how little time they have but they continue procrastinating because they’re on a roll. A procrasti-roll. On Thursday, they’re talking about quitting school and moving to Denmark. Friday comes and who do you see roaming the halls, dazed and confused? The Zombie, who stayed up all night to finish that paper. Warning: approach at own risk. These people are not stable.
DO: You have to admit you have a problem. This is not healthy. Soon, one all-nighter is not going to be enough to complete everything you have to do. Train yourself to stop simply thinking about doing it, and actually start doing it. It’s all about getting rid of bad habits and bringing in new ones.
Now combine all those tips into a melting pot of productivity and ace those midterms!
In the end, the key trick to being productive is to begin. Avoid worrying about how much you have to do, getting tired from all the worrying, then procrastinating but still thinking about your responsibilities. Instead, stop thinking about it and start doing. Uh-uh! Not another thought. (Unlessit’s for a nice comment down below, but then, focus!) Just START!
Watch this video on How to Stop Procrastinating for more insight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL83GqBxAic
Katrina is a 2nd year Business Management student at Ryerson University majoring in Marketing and minoring in Professional Communication. She is passionate about transforming the marketing industry into one that celebrates differences, empowers, and influences people for good. She loves to learn new skills and take up challenges, especially in social media, research, and digital tools, as the marketing world is ever-changing. She loves to combine digital art with marketing and hopes to inspire creativity in others as well. When she is not working, Katrina is blogging, training her puppy Hazel, and reading everything from fiction to business to well-being. You can find her LinkedIn here: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/katrina-van/5a/84b/601