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5 Top Tips to Avoid ProcrastinationGuest post written by James Timpson (Share your stories with 26,000+ students like YOU!)
Procrastination is the bane of revision and when you’re preparing for exams there’s nothing more boring than trolling through your notes and trying to fill in the blanks. It’s hardly surprising that most people leave it until the last minute. If this sounds familiar, then these five tips may help.
1. Start in the morning
Revision expert Justin Craig states that most people find the morning to be the most productive time of the day. There’s nothing like waking up, cracking on and getting all of your work done before the afternoon. Not only does this make the days feel longer, but it gives you more free time to relax and recuperate – which is half the battle.
The second you’ve had breakfast, set yourself a goal and see it through till the end. The longer you leave it the more creative your excuses will become, and before you know it you’ve wasted the whole day. Having a “Do it now” attitude will prevent delays. While it may be difficult to begin with, after a few days your mind and body will start to adapt.
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2. Reduce your workload
This may seem counter productive, but it’s far better to get a little bit done than nothing. For example, it can be pretty daunting to look at your schedule and realise that you need to write a 2,000 word essay. However, if you split that up across five days, it’s now a mere 400 words – not quite so bad is it?
Don’t worry about completing entire projects in one sitting. Spreading it across multiple days will not only make it much easier to manage, but will improve the overall quality of your work.
3. Don’t prioritise small tasks
Of course you’ll need to get the smaller tasks out the way as well, but don’t do them to compensate for bigger tasks. Answering emails and reading research notes, etc., needs to be done, but is it really a priority?
Don’t kid yourself; prioritise by order of importance. Whatever you do make sure you tackle at least a small portion of a bigger task, otherwise you’ll just end up overburdened when all the smaller tasks are out of the way.
4. Get some company
According to The Happiness Project, studies have shown that we enjoy activities more when we have a partner. If you think you’d work better with someone by your side, choose your study partner wisely. If you’re not careful they could be an even bigger distraction.
Find a study partner who makes an effort to do well themselves. Their good habits will inspire you to try harder. If you don’t have any close friends doing the same course as you, ask your tutor to arrange an after-hours study group.
5. Create a schedule
Create both long and short-term schedules and stick to them. Having a detailed plan in front of you will inspire you to stay ahead of the game. Creating a schedule will also help you pinpoint problem areas so you can make extra time for them.
At the beginning of each week make a detailed plan outlining what you expect to achieve by the end. Then, at the beginning of each day – before you start working – write down a list of everything you want to achieve by the end of that day. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something off a list!
When it comes to revision everybody is different and what could work for others may not work for you. Try to find a routine that you find beneficial, even if it doesn’t stick to conventions. Sometimes it’s the oddest and most ‘out there’ ideas that work.
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