General Question

zarnold's avatar

how to procrastinate less?

Asked by zarnold (685 points ) March 13th, 2008

I’m in college, and I need to learn some better time management; I feel like my grades are suffering and if I could space out my work a bit more instead of doing all of it right before it’s due I would be a lot less stressed out.

I tend to spend a lot of time checking email, surfing (this site included), and having my laptop around is really bad for my productivity. Even without that as a distraction I have a lot of trouble just sitting down and doing the work unless there’s the pressure of an imminent due date on me. Any ideas? Thanks!

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12 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I had the same problem when I was in college. I could never get anything done while I was a home.

A few things I did to help. I scheduled my classes so I had a few hours between each class. This allowed me to have some spare time for homework/studying where I wasn’t at home. I gave up on ever trying to get things done at home. I would go to the library at school if I had a big project to get done. And I was lucky that my school was a ten minute bike ride away.

GD_Kimble's avatar

I think we often procrastinate because we feel overwhelmed by the unpleasant workload. So don’t look at it a one big mountain to climb. Break it all up into less daunting mini-tasks. If you have, say, 10 things that need doing this week, make an agreement with yourself that you’ll only tackle 2 a day until they’re all done. Or only work on one project at a time. Sometimes it’s hard to see progress when you’re juggling too many balls, and momentum is the best remedy for procrastination. The more things you can check off the list, the more motivation you’ll have to keep going.

Roughdraft76's avatar

Put it off… :)

cwilbur's avatar

Get yourself a kitchen timer. When you do something potentially open-ended, like hanging out on Fluther or web surfing, set the timer to half an hour or an hour, and tell yourself that when the timer goes off, you’re done time-wasting.

Alternately, when you’re working on something huge that you’re putting off starting, set the timer to an hour and tell yourself that you only have to work on it for an hour.

And break up the large scary tasks into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks.

hearkat's avatar

If you have an iPhone, you can use the timer feature on it to follow cwilbur’s useful suggestions. :D

skfinkel's avatar

There are a lot of hours in a day: if you use your time well, there is time for everything. You might try waking up early and getting a couple of hours of homework in before class (assuming classes are not first thing in the morning). That way, you have already accomplished much before the sun is even high. Later, when you are tired, you can surf etc. without any guilt. Then, in the evening or when you get another burst of energy, you can settle down to another couple of hours of work. It all comes down to developing good work habits—it take practice and discipline, but once you have it, it is very much easier to get things done.

chill_out's avatar

Make a list for yourself. It’s important to write things down so you can have a visual of what needs to be done. On this list, don’t just write what it is that has to be done. Include what it is (of course) but also when they are due and even how long you estimate it would take you to complete each task (over-estimate.) Do one thing at a time and give yourself the time to complete each task.
Good luck

emilyrose's avatar

I tend to procrastinate too. Sometimes I tell myself that I have to finish a particular project and THEN I’m allowed to do email and fluther! Also the timer ideas are good. You can say to yourself “I have to study for the next 90 minutes and then I get 20 minutes of free time”

BoyWonder's avatar

It definitely helps to stay positive. I found that being depressed makes you procrastinate even more. Well, for me anyway.

bassgirl's avatar

give yourself a treat for getting it done early. a prize for completion does wonders for the self-esteem also.

deni's avatar

if you actually go to a library and try to get work done, that helps. it helps me to feel motivated since everyone around me is working, except for a few people checking their myspaces. but still, there’s nothing else to do, so you figure what the hell i might as well get something done right?

CherrySempai's avatar

Make a list of everything you NEED to do. Then actually do it. :]

Turn the list into a schedule and set up times. The most important thing is to stick to the schedule, but make sure to schedule in some downtime and relaxation time! Otherwise you’ll be more prone to dropping the list altogether. ^_~

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