As a high school senior, I am all too familiar with the dangers of procrastination. By taking AP, community college, and online classes, I have already reconciled myself to the idea that I will be busy. Of course, standardized testing, volunteering, extracurricular activities, and college applications only add to my pile of seemingly endless work.
In spite of the assignments and responsibilities, I have been able to keep my sanity, study hard, and meet deadlines–so far. So, what are some ways to be proactive, productive, and on schedule? Here are some tips.
- Don’t stress. This should be a priority and a goal for any student. From my experience, becoming stressed or anxious about a project or an assignment will often have a negative effect on one’s personal performance.
- Don’t be too relaxed. People on the opposite end of the spectrum often think of an assignment as “nothing” or something that can be finished in “an hour or so.” However, by constantly pushing the work to another date or another time, one can easily forget about it altogether. Therefore, having a healthy amount of pressure can be helpful when trying to meet deadlines.
- Have a planner/calendar. Having a visual aid that clearly shows the deadlines for each assignment can combat forgetfulness or laziness. However, be sure to update the calendar regularly and actually follow through with doing the work, or it will be self-defeating: people might spend an unnecessarily long time on their planners to procrastinate from doing their assignments!
- Set reminders on your phone. These reminders can be used for more short-term goals and responsibilities, such as taking out the trash or packing lunch to school, but they can also be used as an additional reminder to complete one’s homework.
- Set timers. This can be done by simply using an app or by searching for a social media blocking site. By setting aside some time to completely focus on one’s work, one can become much more productive.
- Write things down. Do not simply write deadlines; write ideas, doubts, fears, expectations, and everything else that tries to cloud your brain. When distracting thoughts come, write them and move on.
- Take breaks. The awareness that there will be a break in a few minutes is usually enough motivation to keep studying. Also, after resting and recuperating for short amounts of time, I have found that I can concentrate on my work better. Please remember to keep the breaks short, though, or it may become difficult to return to “working mode.”
- Increase accountability. This can mean having a study partner, asking parents to check up on one’s work, or writing a daily log of completed assignments. Being transparent with oneself can increase one’s sense of responsibility and motivation.
- Divide work into daily, practical, and manageable chunks. Doing a reasonable amount of work each day will make the next day seem less daunting.
- Think positively. Thinking happy, optimistic thoughts can change one’s perspective about the upcoming work. Instead of giving up in despair or shying away from homework, it is much better to maintain a positive attitude when viewing the work that needs to be done.