It’s Thursday evening and you’re frantically working to finish up this science project due tomorrow morning at 8am. Tired, anxious, and annoyed that you can’t watch your school’s championship game tonight, you ask yourself, “How did this happen?”
Well, let’s see. First, you spent your entire weekend indulging in a movie marathon, since you were giving yourself a break from the week. Then during the week, you spent hours watching silly videos. After watching those videos, you would share them with your friends, spending more time laughing at them and discussing what other videos are comparable in the never-ending black hole known as the group chat. Yup, that’s called procrastination, and it is one of the most destructive habits known to man.
However, if you make a habit of being proactive, it can lead to positive results if you focus and stay committed. Below are a few quick tips that you can use to transition from being a procrastinator, to a proactive student.
Make a Plan
First things first, using a planner and making a detailed plan for the project is a must. Verifying that all supplies are present and highlighting important rubric points for various parts of the project are just a few of the many details needed. A planner helps you store all of the notes, comments and specific steps within your plan. A whiteboard is also beneficial as it can help you see the big picture when you lay out your plan. Remember, always get an overview before going through the details. It works for planning a trip, planning your week, or even studying for a history test.
Whenever any project is assigned, it is best to divide the project into multiple parts. This makes it easier to focus rather than getting overwhelmed by the project as a whole. By breaking your project into small manageable chunks, you’re able to measure the progress you’re making with each item complete.
The earlier the better, as it will allow time to fix mistakes or enhance your project, while leaving you with more time for yourself towards the end. The best thing to do is to treat your project like any other homework and start on it immediately the day it is received. No matter how small the first objective may be, it’s a start. Procrastination is often caused by the fear of starting. By making progress, even minimal progress, from the beginning, you are less likely to procrastinate later on.
Whether you’re studying at home in a living room, bedroom, or kitchen, you are surrounded by distractions. You know what those specific distractions are and they’re part of the reason you procrastinate. Your social media accounts, your phone, your funny videos – all are in your control. When you remove those distractions, your productivity skyrockets and you’ll come to thank yourself later when you realize you that you’ve finished the project early. Next time you find it hard to focus, quickly make a list of the ten biggest distractions in your room. Then, eliminate them. The environment plays a huge role in productivity. Control it or it will control you.
Getting started on tasks isn’t always easy, and it’s difficult to push yourself when it’s a task that isn’t fun or desirable. Therefore, get someone to help give you that nudge! Whether it’s a parent, friend, sibling, or tutor, find a support system that works for you so that you are energized and motivated to start and finish your project. Accountability is powerful. When something is important, outsource some the responsibility to someone you trust. Younger siblings make great accountability partners. Not only are they extremely talented when it comes to perpetually reminding people to do something, they also love being included and helping out their older siblings. It’s a win-win.
The truth is procrastination plagues the productivity of people all over the world, not just students. However, students who learn how to manage procrastination by becoming proactive thrive in the adult world. These real-life skills are our bread and butter here at Staying Ahead of the Game. If your student struggles with crushing procrastination or any other executive functioning skill, give us a call.