Procrastination! The thief of time – OurWarwick

Procrastination! The thief of time

Before anything else, let me debunk this myth…Procrastination is not laziness!

In recent times, the pandemic has affected every aspect of normal human life. Many people have made adjustments to settle into our new way of life. Others are still struggling and finding ways and means to be as efficient as possible. We students, have had one of the greatest influence from the Coronavirus pandemic. The delivery of education has shifted from interactive and community based learning to virtual learning. The pandemic has ushered us into a “new normal” whereby digitization is the main tool for education.

 Personally, it has been very difficult to come to terms with the turn of events and how to effectively approach studies. From experience and interactions with some colleagues and friends, one common problem that affects students presently is procrastination. This is negatively interpreted as being lazy or having a bad attitude towards schoolwork.

Procrastination occurs when one delays or unnecessarily postpones an activity or work that needs to be completed. For instance, you know a deadline for an assignment is coming up but tend to waste time watching movies, spending hours on social media or doing an equally unimportant activity to avoid doing the assignment even though you know you should be working on it. That is procrastination! Showing less commitment to a necessary action, in favour of a less important action despite long-term consequences.

As students, we often procrastinate because we believe we work better under pressure. The habit of waiting until the 11 hour to complete an assigned task is not sustainable.  Generally, some people tend to put off completing tasks due to lack of self-motivation, interest, discipline or willpower; fear of failure or not getting the work done to perfection; a distraction from certain personal issue; skill deficiency but to mention a few. Your schoolwork is a major priority and one must dedicate maximum efforts to get it done while juggling so many other matters. I believe everyone has the capability of overcoming the habit of procrastination, work efficiently and make huge strides and accomplishment in which they will look back one day and be proud of how far they have come. I am here to give you some tips on overcoming procrastination in these trying times and making the best out of our current situation.

Flip the script now! I know you are used to working at the last minute. These old patterns and beliefs are not the best. Yes! Working under pressure might be beneficially and well suited for some people but as a student, allowing yourself sufficient time to complete tasks is a good attitude and will help you produce high-quality work, allow you to seek support if needed and perform at your best (making good judgements and decision making). Don’t make excuses! The next time you start thinking to yourself “I work well at the last minute” or “I perform better under pressure, remember that your brain is playing a trick on you. Develop this positive attitude of flipping the script. Nobody works exceedingly well under pressure without being physically and mentally drained.

Take a moment of introspection. It important to ask yourself these questions “What am I avoiding?”, “Why am I not making any efforts to get started on the assignment?”, “what’s the worst that could happen if I start early or wait till the last minute?”. Try to answer these questions. Is it fear of failure or receiving negative feedback, inability to brainstorm and come up with “perfect” or “excellent” ideas? Pick up a pen and paper now! Write whatever comes into mind on how to go about that assignment. There is nothing like lacking ideas or skills to do something. You have an idea or some sort of skills on how to go about it. That should be your starting point. I guarantee you, after some time, numerous revisions and upgrading of initial ideas, it will turn out to be the best ideas or you will develop great and efficient skills to finally complete the assignment.

Begin today! I would recommend making a to-do list. In this critical times where your academic work is solely dependent on your self-discipline and proper time management, making a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish is one of the efficient ways of organizing yourself to do your academic work efficiently.  

Firstly, make a list of everything that needs to be done. Make sure you break down the complicated tasks into smaller and simpler bits. Position the tasks in order of importance. Prioritize tasks that are difficult, important and have the earliest deadlines. The worst first! It is very essential to face difficult and dreaded tasks and get them out of the way. The longer you keep on pushing it out of your thoughts, the more likely you are to procrastinate.

Choose a suitable environment for your studies and at the right time. Consider other places or study areas if working from home or in your room is not effective. For me, working or studying at the Postgraduate hub is my go-to place when I am tired of working from home. It gives me motivation when I see other students doing their school work. Figure out who you are. Morning or afternoon person? Night owl? Identify the times of the day where you are most productive, stick to those times and make it part of your routine.

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