Stop The Madness!
One of the first "Real World" lessons of college is that there are fewer external motivations to keep you going…mom isn't waking you up in the morning…your classes aren't pre-scheduled for you…you may or may not have weekly tests to make sure you're keeping up with the material. You will have to find something internal to get the job done. And often, those students who don't muster up the internal intestinal fortitude it takes end up in a vicious cycle of procrastination…this can ruin you academically if it runs away unchecked. Here are some things to consider about this sneaky disabler:
1. Figure out what your personal procrastination looks like:
- What do you do to procrastinate?
- Are there particular places or times when you procrastinate?
- Are there particular people that make it easier for you to put things off?
2. Think about why you are procrastinating – most people put things off for one or more of these reasons:
- You're either not interested or don't see the relevance
- You're not sure what needs to be done
- You have extremely high standards that are probably unreachable – so you'd rather not do it if you can't do it perfectly
- You fear failing
- You fear succeeding
- You don't feel capable
- You're physically exhausted
- You're overextended and trying to do too much
- Your tasks seem unmanageable
3. Once you know why and how you are procrastinating, learn how to stop it.
- Whether or not you're interested, you're still expected to take certain classes. Find something that does interest you about the material…get to know the professor…talk to others in your class. Don't look at the class as an isolated thing you have to do, but rather as a step in the process of getting an excellent education. And remember, all your cumulative GPA doesn't care whether you were interested in that class or not.
- Find out what is necessary for each class early in the semester – take a Big Picture moment to see what is coming. "Guessimate" the amount of time different projects will take.
- Accept that you will mess up sometimes, and allow yourself to do so. Getting an imperfect B or C is better than getting a perfect F.
- Try to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Work on those things you don't do as well, and never be afraid to ask for help.
- Don't let imaginary expectations keep you from doing well…if you don't do great each time, it's okay.
- None of us know how capable or incapable we are until we try something. You'll probably surprise yourself – and if not, there are people around to help you improve your skills.
- Take a nap – but not through class. Give your body time to catch up, but don't set yourself up for unnecessary physical exhaustion. Being tired because of practices, or diligent studying is one thing…being tired because of bad choices is something else (and completely within your control).
- Learn to say no. The sky won't fall if you don't say yes to every opportunity that comes across your door step (but it might if you do).
- Make lists. The monster under the bed is only horrible until we look to see there's nothing there. Write down the things that are pulling at you most. Learn to prioritize. The more you do this, the better you'll get at it.
- Learn to avoid the procrastination traps specific to you…watch out for cues that you're about to stall. People, places, activities…all good things in and of themselves, but if their purpose is to get you off-track, be careful.
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