Do you think you have a problem with procrastination when doing homework or revising? Are you finding yourself always putting things off that you have to get done? If you nodded your head, don’t worry you’re not alone! Most students have the exact same problem from time to time, but it can be a real struggle when there is homework you need to finish, or an exam you have to revise for. Lack of motivation, failure to use time effectively, no structure, the causes of procrastination are endless. Procrastination can be a tough issue to handle, but if you take necessary measures to help yourself and formulate a solid plan of action, and if you then follow through on your plan, you will have an excellent chance at overcoming or reducing your procrastination.
- Eliminate Distractions
Turn off social media notifications. We are all plugged into the matrix today, whether it be Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tik Tok or another way to connect. Regardless of the form of social media or game, turn off notifications. If you can’t resist temptation, turn off your phone altogether. If turning off your phone isn’t an option and you still constantly find yourself distracted by anything and everything, we’ve found two perfect apps to help you get focused and most importantly, to keep you focused.
Forest is a really popular and simple anti-procrastination app. You open the app and it plants a tree. The tree will take thirty minutes to grow, but if you close or minimise the app in that time then your tree will die. If you manage make it through thirty minutes, however, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely little tree which is added to your own personal forest. You can spend virtual coins that you earn on planting trees in the real world. It does cost £1.99 but it is more definitely worth every penny.
Flipd is a great little free app which blocks all of your games and social media apps for a predetermined length of time. It also replaces your lock screen wallpaper with a timer to let you know how long you’ve stayed away from your phone. Flipd blocks the things distracting you without rendering your phone useless, you can still make emergency calls, and unlock your phone for sixty seconds at a time if you absolutely can’t ignore that important text.
- Switch off the TV and put on your headphones
The temptation to watch TV can definitely be stronger than wanting to finish your homework. Hearing the opening theme tune to your favourite show can ultimately lead to complete distraction. It’s even possible the TV is subliminally distracting you. Isolate yourself completely from sound and distraction. Noise cancelling headphones are brilliant for 100% focus on the task in hand.
- Switch up your work environment
Perhaps it your work environment that’s making you feel work shy? Different environments have different impacts on our productivity. If you feel that your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it. Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Try to make your work environment resemble a library as much as possible. Stark lights will help avoid drowsiness, which can hamper motivation. Working at a desk instead of your sofa or sat in bed will help you stay focused and determined on finishing the task. Clutter can be very demotivating, it also can ultimately cause stress, which is often at the root of procrastination. Make sure your desk only has study related items on it, so the only possible temptation is finishing your homework.
- Schedule your study sessions for when you’re most work efficient
We all have a time of day when we are best able to knuckle down and focus. Track yourself for a few days to see what time of day works best for you. Create a homework schedule or revision routine during this time so that it’s easier to get your work finished. Discuss your homework plans with your friends and family so that they know that this goal is super important to you. Ask them politely to try and not to distract you during this time. They may also be willing to offer positive words of encouragement! Tell friends and family that you won’t talk to them until your homework is finished. This will make them less likely to distract you and give you an incentive to stay firmly on track. When you tell others around you about the work you intend to complete, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans. This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want people to see you as someone who sticks to your word. So, if you know about this concept, why not start to use it to your own advantage? You could even ask a good friend to be your accountability partner. In the morning, you could message each other what you plan to work on during that day. Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went well. Schedule your sessions so that you are able to get to work on assignments as soon as you receive them. If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them. Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too. So, choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you in a positive manner. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to focus and get down to work and when it’s time to relax and enjoy yourselves.
5. Make lists and divide your work into smaller, more achievable tasks
Lists are a fantastic way to create structure and discipline to goals that appear disorganised or impossible. You’ll be more motivated and driven when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something and how to go about doing it. If procrastination still persists, make the tasks smaller. If motivation still dodges you, keep breaking things down until the first step is so small and simple you can’t help but to complete it. Accomplishing even the most simple, mundane task is very important. If you do a small task when you wake up in the morning, it’s more likely to encourage further accomplishments throughout the day. The same applies to homework and revision. Writing a title, highlighting something important, whatever it is, doing a small portion will install pride and gratification and lead to you completing more tasks. Remember that there’s never an absolutely perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework to perfection. But you can always do your best, and that is enough.
6. Reassure and reward yourself!
If doubting yourself or a negative thought pops into your head, it’s important to try and focus on all the positives. Visualise yourself engaging in your favourite activity, completely relaxed because of how quickly and efficiently you completed your homework. The reward doesn’t have to be something big. For example, you may decide that after you finish 10 questions of your biology homework, you get to watch an episode of your favourite Netflix series. Or you may decide that after revising your Spanish oral test, you get to spend 20 minutes using social media apps. By giving yourself a small reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through your work. Written a title for your essay? Give yourself a pat on the back. Finished the first page? Reward yourself with your favourite chocolate bar. Finally managed to crack a complicated maths equation? Take a quick break and chill. Positive reinforcement can be extremely effective if used properly. Our obsession with perfection can cause us to procrastinate in a roundabout way. Remember that no one is perfect, perfectionism can cause you to delay getting started, because you’re worried that you won’t be able to produce work that’s perfect. It can also cause you to continue revising your work endlessly, because you keep finding minor flaws in your work.
At the end of the day, it boils down to taking action. Procrastination can be a tough problem to fix, but if you’re willing to follow the necessary steps in order to create a solid plan of action, and if you’re willing to then put in the effort in order to follow through on your plan of action, you have a brilliant chance at being able to overcome your procrastination. Forgiving yourself for past instances of procrastination can help you procrastinate less in the future.