By: Derek Skolnik
Many distractions are preventing us from staying concentrated and on top of our work, especially this year with online school fatigue. With the winter holidays coming up, we have little time to study during this period. On top of that, we also spend a lot of time procrastinating. In this blog post, we’re going to be sharing our favourite ways to prevent procrastination.
1. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines to Breakdown Work
When professors give deadlines to assignments, essays, or lab reports, it’s easy to leave the work to the day before the deadline, thinking “Oh, I have time for that later,” or perhaps, the assignment seems too overwhelming to easily start.
We suggest breaking down that assignment into small parts and create a timeline with deadlines for each part. By condensing the project into little tasks to be completed every day, we not only stay ahead of all our work but we also make it easier to complete it. And although we’re suggesting this method for finals season, this tip applies to courses’ assignments all year long! If we are using the example of an essay, here is how we would break it down.
2. Stay Organized with an Agenda
Being organized is an important tool for stopping procrastinating. We find that getting an agenda will help make sure we are on top of all our work! It helps to visualize what tasks need to be completed each day and what major deadlines are coming up. There are a variety of agenda types, whether they be a physical paper one or an electronic app. It helps to try different organization methods out until you find one that works for you!
3. Get Rid of Distractions
Being at home 24/7 does not motivate us to complete work. Social media apps, whether it be Snapchat, Instagram, or Tiktok, are constantly distracting us and preventing us from wanting to study for long periods of time! A good middle-ground approach is to set a certain amount of “phone time” per a specific time interval of studying. For example, for every hour of work, you give yourselves 15 minutes of social media time or whatever activity makes you happy. Apps like “Focus Keeper,” “Flora,” and “Lightdogs” can help keep you accountable!
4. Study Buddy
During the pandemic, it is clear that we cannot go to the library with our friends to study, but why should we let COVID-19 stop these fun study groups? Setting up a Zoom call or Facetime with friends can help motivate study sessions and prevent procrastination!
5. Reward Yourself
The end of the semester is rough. Professors cram in work, and it can be stress-inducing to have to finish all the assigned tasks. Having an incentive is a great way to finish tasks efficiently. Reward yourself to a spa day when you have completed all those essays you have or go buy that shirt you really wanted if you made it through exams! Having something to look forward to encourages you to not procrastinate.
6. Just Do It
At the end of the day, no matter how much planning you do, if you do not take action, the work will never get done. Do not convince yourself that it is fine to procrastinate, take initiative and complete the work. Take action and complete those assignments! The satisfaction from marking assignments off an agenda is the best feeling. :)
About the Author: My name is Derek Skolnik and I am a second-year Health Sciences student at Dawson College, where I am the editor in chief of the Dawson Research Journal of Experimental Science! I am so excited to have the opportunity to be involved in the McGill Scientific Writing Initiative as I have always had a passion for writing and science. I hope to be a student at McGill next year with the goal of obtaining my degree in the Bachelor of Science.