The art of procrastination among university students: “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow”

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How many times have you known full well that an assignment was due but insisted on doing anything and everything but that assignment in order to avoid it?

Perhaps you’ve put it off for weeks and now you find yourself frantically researching at 2 a.m. in order to get it done. As the clock tick-tocks, your anxiety level starts to rise and you have once again become a victim of procrastination.

It’s a phenomenon that has gotten the best of every university student, but with a few helpful tips, there are ways that you can avoid the stress and finally get things done at a decent time.

First it is important to realize why we do it. Whether it’s because we feel overwhelmed with a situation, given up hope, have a fear of failing, can’t make a decision or are just plain tired and overworked, knowing the reasoning behind your procrastination can truly help you fix it. There’s a good chance that you’re not just being lazy, but have another more internal reason for not being able to get your work done.

The key to not procrastinating is to set reasonable goals that are going to give you plenty of time to get your work done.

Keep an agenda of when things are due and make sure you accomplish the hardest tasks first, even though they are usually the most unappealing.

Creating a simple to-do list is also helpful as it allows you to visualize what needs to be done. Crossing a completed task off of the list can be very liberating and motivate you to cross off more items.

If you are having trouble with a particular assignment, be sure to direct questions to the prof early. No teacher is going to go out of their way to help you if you’re frantically sending emails in the wee hours of the morning.

Do not leave things to the last minute and make sure you let nothing get in the way of your study time. Giving up things such as parties and other fun activities might be necessary but that doesn’t mean there won’t be other opportunities. Be smart about how you spend your time and think about how it’s going to affect you in the long run.

Although studying in groups may seem like an effective way to get the creative juices flowing, you may realize that this method makes for a better social time rather than legit study system. Choose who you plan to study with wisely and keep each other accountable for staying on task.

It is also important to try and eliminate anything that is going to come between you and the task at hand. Avoid distractions such as texting and the computer as they often consume much more time than we anticipate.

If it’s Facebook or Twitter that’s eating up your time, then block the website, or get a friend to change your password until you are ready to log back on. The likelihood of you missing anything truly significant is pretty slim.

With the right motivation and organizational skills there’s no reason that you should ever have to feel overwhelmed and defeated by procrastination again. Just keep focused and remember that with a little bit of prep work, you will have more time to do the things you really enjoy.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.