How NOT to…Procrastinate

Laura Haatvedt

Laura Haatvedt

Perhaps you’re saying, “Wait a minute, this is only the third issue of the Collegian and they’re repeating themselves already?” But look closer — this is how NOT to procrastinate, written especially for those of you who may have enjoyed Todd’s column but are looking for help with the procrastination problem (and let’s face it — isn’t that about half of the student body?). This column brought to you by the letter P, the number 10, and someone who happens to have the art of procrastination perfected.

Break it up. If you are like me, the prospect of a huge project may sometimes scare you. Instead of focusing on the large-scale overall task at hand, break it down into smaller steps to get you to your end result. It will become much less overwhelming, and much easier to start.

Start budgeting. No, not your money, but your time. If you set a schedule for studying, it is easier to stick to it. Write down your intentions — that way they will be easier to stick to. Give yourself an hour to study chem, then an hour to work on that paper for comp. If you are not sure how long a particular assignment will take, allow extra time. It’s better to have more free time than not enough time to get done everything that’s necessary. Then you can take time to reward yourself for a job well done.

Avoid distractions. I know for me, when I’m trying to get something done for class on my computer, MSN Messenger is the devil’s workshop. This can be hard because we all love to chat with our friends. Your best bet here would be to shut MSN off, or at least put the “Busy” button to good use. If you just got done with a three hour lab, go ahead and jump on MSN and check your email for half an hour, BUT stick to that half hour within your schedule. Make sure you still have time to get to your studies afterward. If that still doesn’t work, or everyone on your floor keeps popping in to borrow this or that, try the library. It’s built for people just like you.

Later does not exist. Don’t let yourself get away with “Oh, I’ll just do it later.” Sure, the first time might not hurt. But then, suddenly it’s the night before that 10-paged paper is due and you have yet to start. If it’s an absolutely-can’t-pass-it-up opportunity, allow yourself one “later.” Once again, this can be very difficult at first.

Give yourself time. All of this new self-discipline stuff is not going to happen overnight. It takes time and work to get it down. Then once you have got it down, you really have to stick to it. It can be tough at times. I’ll admit I have had to learn the hard way a time or two. Hopefully, with this article, you won’t have to.