Friday, 27 April 2018

An Alumna’s guide to dealing with procrastination

Hi, I’m Aroona, a University of Hertfordshire Humanities graduate who is currently on a short work placement in the University’s Marketing and Communications department. I wanted to share my experiences today on how I dealt with procrastination while I was studying at the University of Hertfordshire.



The battle of procrastination is always a topic of concern for students - full stop. The fear of failure and the temptation of social media is often associated with why we end up procrastinating when we should be studying.

Procrastination is different to being lazy. It’s the same as saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, as opposed to ‘I can’t be bothered.’

I think I paid more attention as a student on trying and failing to deal with procrastination than actively doing things to reduce it.  It was like falling for a sugar rush everytime I sat in front of the computer. I would one minute be watching videos online; the next I would be texting friends; the third I would make excuses I was hungry and tired.

There tends to be an unrealistic perception that to deal with procrastination effectively is to eradicate it completely.  It isn’t something that can be avoided - it can only be tackled. 

Here are a few tips on how to grapple with your procrastination:

Getting started
     
      For most people ‘getting started’ is the toughest barrier to overcome when dealing with procrastination.  It is normally associated with the term ‘catastrophising’ which means to making a worse deal of something then it really is. To avoid falling into this trap shift your perspective on the long-term benefits of having the job done. Most tasks are tolerable and achievable if you understand why you are doing them and what they can offer you. Remember it doesn’t always have to be perfect first time. It is best to ‘JUST DO IT’.


Planning
     
      I can’t emphasise enough how important and useful this method is. To ensure that you are consistent with your work load rather than inundated at the last minute, it is best to set yourself some mini-goals daily on what tasks you are going to focus on. This helps you to manage your stress better as you are making progress slowly and early in time for the deadline. I found it helpful to make a timetable or write notes on a calendar, so I could have more control in organising my routine. I also would complete my study tasks in short bursts, taking breaks between them to keep myself refreshed and motivated.


Student friendly environment

If you intend to study, then you can make little changes to reflect this in your study space. If you like to study in your room then a personalised and clean environment, such as posters and plants, can help you feel comfortable and inspired. If the thought of your bed is too much of a distraction then going to the LRC is a great place to ensure you study. It also means that there are plenty of resources nearby to use and you are provided with a well-lit and quiet environment.


Sleep

It is tempting to pull an all-nighter and choose to complete assignments last minute when you should be sleeping. However, sleep is important if you want to study effectively.To sleep easier, it is helpful to fall in to a regular sleeping pattern and have time to wind down and relax beforehand such as taking a bath or watching a movie. If you find sleeping a struggle, then you can contact the Campus Pharmacy or the Student Wellbeing team who will be happy to help.


Be serious

I found that it was important to remind myself that I was at university because I wanted to learn and get a degree in order to secure a job that I loved. This sometimes may mean having to say no to friends or choosing not to go out but working hard now will make it all worthwhile when graduating.


My graduation! All the hard work was worth it in the end. 

Reward yourself 
     
Imagine how much better you would feel rewarding yourself knowing you have deserved it  
rather than having to acknowledge the guilt you’ve done the same thing by procrastinating. 
For example, you could choose to switch off your phone for two hours of study and reward 
yourself with a favourite treat or drink. It can be anything that you enjoy as long as it is done 
moderately, and you can return to your studying in good time.




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