We all know about procrastination and we know how big a hindrance it is in our studies but seldom do we have an idea of how to stop procrastinating and avoid procrastination. Many students are still busy making plans, deciding strategies to study and delaying their preparation to the next day. Well this is a classic example of procrastination. Newton says that a body at rest stays at rest unless an external force is applied. Well there are students who are still awaiting the external force to bring their body into motion.
Procrastination is an act of avoiding or delaying a task that needs to be accomplished soon. Despite its negative consequences most of us have inculcated this as a hobby. We intentionally tend to delay starting or finishing a task because of various reasons like day dreaming, laziness and carelessness. There have also been times when people tend to procrastinate their work because they don’t deem it important and feel that it lacks the value they are looking for.
Today we would like to help our students in overcoming procrastination by finding out why and what task a person normally procrastinates.
- Step back to analyze: Whenever you start procrastinating a task at hand, sit and analyze why you want to delay it. Is it because you don’t want to do it or you don’t think it is going to help you or you are just being lazy in doing the task. If it is a subject that you are delaying all the time understand why you are doing so.
One of the reasons for this behaviour can be lack of understanding of the subject. Once you have analyzed, you will see a pattern where you find the reason why you delay a task. Once you have created a better picture of your habit you will have better chance of fixing it.
- Change your outlook: Instead of stressing out about the work in hand and making it difficult for yourself to complete it. Move on and focus on what you have to do and how the target can be achieved.
Remember how in the past you have achieved a task at hand and in a similar way motivate yourself to start working immediately. Recalling your past achievements and dedication put behind it, always inspires one to work harder and with greater zeal.
- Break the task into small chunks and create deadlines: Instead of looking at the task in hand as a whole, break in into small chunks. While preparing for any examination, instead of looking at all the books and subjects from the exam point of view, break them into individual subjects and into small chunks of topics. While making a plan do not decide on completing the subject all together, but focus on completing individual topics depending on their relevance and marks distribution in the examination.
Keeping in mind the date of exam and your preparation strategy also make sure that all the tasks have a specific deadline which must be adhered to always. Creating a deadline always helps in completing the task. Break down your project then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task.
This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency required to act.
- Difficult task first: This comes from the concept of “Eat the Frog”. It is always advisable that as soon as you wake up in the morning complete the difficult or the biggest task first. Once you are done with the most difficult subject or topic you feel a sense of confidence and are inspired to do the rest of the work also easily and with utmost dedication.
So always aim for the bigger task first and the smaller once will be done in no time. It is normal human nature to procrastinate the heavier work in hand and pick up the little once first. If you have already completed the bigger task you have nothing to procrastinate about and you are good to go on your journey to excellence.
- Reward yourself: Little rewards always inspire one to work harder. So to motivate yourself pick small targets for yourself and reward yourself whenever you achieve the target in the destined time period. Reward necessarily does not mean gifting huge gifts.It can be as small as taking a break, watching a movie, a good pizza from dominos or a good nap. These small rewards will bring the zeal to complete the task on time and also to make newer plans.
- Motivational talks and videos: All the students these days carry a smart phone and instead of using it to play games and gossiping with friends use it constructively. Watch you tube for motivational vedios and read good articles on the internet about how people achieved their dreams.TED talks also are very good source of inspiration and motivates you to aim towards your goal. MADE EASY channel on you tube has lots of vedios of toppers describing their journey towards excellence. You can also pick up an inspirational book like auto biographies, self help books and biographies of great men of the world.
- Avoid multitasking: multitasking is an illusion that makes you believe that you are doing lots of work at one time. Instead, multitasking prevents you from accomplishing your destined goal. Therefore, focus on one subject or topic at a time and give it your best shot, only then move on to the next one.
- Avoid excessive use of the phone: As much mobile phone helps you in your preparation, it is also the biggest distraction in your preparation. Therefore, it is necessary that the students are really careful about the use of cell phones. If you have a problem getting away from phones, you can start by installing apps that help monitor your phone usage.
Usage of cell phones should be restricted to searching for any concept or vedios you are unable to understand, motivating yourself if you feel low and talking to friends and family.
- Do not try to be perfect: In the fight for perfection one starts to procrastinate the task in hand. Every day we wake up thinking about the task and in order to do it with perfection we tend to delay it giving importance to the less important task in hand. So instead of aiming for the best aim for completing the task assigned. Perfection is achieved not by procrastinaring the task but by doing it in the allotted time with the best of your ability.
- Understand the importance of the task: A task is important only if we make a list of the good and the bad that will happen after the task is completed. Therefore, it is necessary to first understand the importance of the task. Only if the task is giving us substantial benefit will we want to do it whole heartedly otherwise procrastination is the obvious solution.While preparing for the exam, GATE or ESE, make sure to first be clear why you want to crack the exam. After that lists the pros and cons of cracking the exam. If the pros incite you enough only then can you prepare for the exam with full dedication. Also whenever you start feeling bored or start delaying your studies go through the list again and you will be back to studying again.
- Change your environment: Many times it is not the task that delays the work but the environment we work in which makes the task monotonous. So if you have been sitting in the same place and studying, try changing your environment. An environment change not only refreshes the mind but also revitalizes you with new energy and enthusiasm to study for the examination. Every evening you can try going to some park, library or even a coffee shop with your books to rejuvenate yourself and avoid procrastination.
Talk to people: humans are social animals and which is why many times loneliness breeds the habit of procrastination. Therefore, make sure that you do not isolate yourself completely. You must talk to people around like your batch mates, friends and family. You can also try getting in contact with students who have cleared the exam in the past.Talking to people will help you discuss your strategy and learn theirs too. Also you can have group discussions with your co-aspirants. This will help you not learn about your topics but also learn from the other aspirants.
Procrastination sometimes seems as habit or the result of being lazy. If you dig deep into it there is always a reason why we tend to delay some tasks whereas we complete some before the allotted time. Procrastination though in the short term gives one pleasure but in the long term hampers your work, energy and the working of your brain.
Thus it is important that one realises the reason for the task he/she delays and then try to work on it. Various methods are available to prevent procrastination like breaking task and making deadlines, changing your environment, talking to people and many others.
Abraham Lincoln very nicely described procrastination “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” So instead of waiting for the leftovers, start working today and don’t wait until tomorrow.
We love to hear from you so if you have any queries or questions do write to us. The entire team of MADE EASY wishes you all the very best for the future and may you succeed in all your future endeavours.