Survival Week Pt. 1

This week was deemed “Survival Week” at university. What’s that? It’s basically a period of time where they acknowledge that people are struggling with the transition and they put up the contact information of certain people (ie: counselors) and some “self-help” guides. I’m among those who are floating so I’ve been reading the stuff online. As you know, this is right up my alley, hah, so looky hear, surprise, surprise: I’m copying+pasting the interesting articles here. I do this all the time, I know, but what the heck right?

Reasons for procrastination

To help overcome procrastination, you need to know what causes it. Identify why you keep putting things off.

Wanting pleasure, avoiding pain

  • Dislike doing things that seem tedious or boring
  • Get distracted by things that seem more interesting or fun
  • Do not want to make a sacrifice now to get a benefit later
  • Want to spend time relaxing, not working

Poor time management

  • Cannot find the time to get the work done
  • Find setting goals and priorities hard
  • Seem to waste time
  • Things take longer than you thought they would
  • Always running late

Disorganised environment

  • Study or work area is a mess
  • Have trouble finding peace and quiet
  • Do not have all the things you need to get the work done
  • Cannot keep track of past, present or future work

Feeling overwhelmed by the task

  • Do not know where to start
  • Caught up in the details and cannot see the goal
  • Find it hard to break the task down into steps

Giving up too easily

  • Get started, but keep getting stuck
  • Come to a point where it all seems too much
  • Unable to decide what to do next
  • Cannot see how to get the task finished

Fear and anxiety

  • Not sure you can do this task
  • Worried that you will do a poor job
  • Anxious about things that may not be that important

Giving in to self doubt

  • Believe you are a born procrastinator
  • Disappointed, hopeless or angry about putting things off again
  • Feel you cannot achieve what others do

Ways to stop procrastinating

Here are some practical things that you can do to help stop procrastinating and become more productive.

Be honest

  • Admit to yourself and others that you’ve been putting off doing the task
  • Find the right time to do it

    • When you finish a task that you enjoy, quickly switch over to work on the less attractive task that you have been avoiding
    • Work out what time or day you are most alert and full of energy. Use this time to work on the task you have been avoiding
    • Make a set time to study or write, and then stick to it

    Do it in stages

    • Start by doing a small part of the task, then do some more. Over time, you will see that you can finish it
    • Write a list of the steps you need to do to finish a large task. Focus on one step at a time
    • Give 5 minutes each day to the task you have been avoiding. After finishing 5 minutes, add another 5. Then try to do another 5 minutes

    Focus on the positive

    • Make a list of all the good things that will happen if you stop procrastinating and all the bad things that will happen if you don’t
    • Plan a reward for when you have finished the task

    Get help

    • Talk to your tutor if lack of information or understanding is stopping you from doing the task
    • Work with a friend to help you get started on the task
    • Get a friend to monitor your progress. Arrange to give them regular reports

    Make a change

    • Clean up and organise your work space to motivate you to get started on your task
    • Turn off (or turn on) the music. See if you can work better in silence (or with some background noise)
    • Get away from social distractions and focus on the tasks you need to do

    Set goals and reminders

    • Set goals for yourself. Aim to spend an amount of time each day on the task, or to have it done by a certain date
    • Pin up a sign at home or a note on your bag as a reminder to do the task

    Study your behaviour

    • At a time during semester when you don’t have anything due, procrastinate as much as you can for a week. Keep track of how often and how long you procrastinate. Note the feelings associated with it. You will be more aware of why you procrastinate and what it leads to

    Just do it

    • Do the hard tasks first and cross them off your list
    • When you remember a task you have been avoiding, do it straight away
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