Many college students have a chronic problem with procrastination. They will wait to study for an exam until the last minute or can be seen rushing around their dorm room desperately trying to clean up before a visitor arrives. But why? Have you every stopped to ask yourself why do I procrastinate? Tired of staying up into all hours of the night cramming for that Chemistry test? Well, read on.
1. Understand the Psychological Causes of Procrastination
According to life coach Jeffery Combs procrastination is linked on a very deep level to several different psychological issues with the self including: perfectionism, a fear of being judged, a desire to be in control and self destructive behaviors. Luckily, procrastinators are rarely horrible procrastinators in all areas of their lives. They may be great at making travel arrangements or at paying their bills but miserable at getting a paper written. People basically procrastinate in the areas of their life where they may have self doubt- or with things they simply don’t want to do. Of course that thing doesn’t really go away and then they have to live with an underlying anxiety about getting the job completed at the last minute. The good news is that once students understand why they procrastinate they can start to cure the problem. Many times the roots of procrastination are related to performance issues and anxiety. Unfortunately, school work and studying is something that extends way back into our childhoods. It is one of the first ways in which we were judged and because of this it is the most common area of procrastination for college students. Isn’t that the worst!
2. Adopt Time Management Plans
Have a monster paper due in 2 weeks? Sit down and chart out exactly when to work on the thing. Time it out to the hour and then keep that appointment with yourself. Try to avoid interruptions and just sit there everyday until the paper is finished. Likely it will be finished ahead of schedule. Chronic procrastinators are usually quick and efficient workers. Once finished reward yourself with something. Working plans like this will start new patterns to get things done. Having the feeling that you have finished well ahead of schedule is a newly found freedom that will let you really relax and enjoy yourself.
3. Make Extra Time!
Maybe you don’t have any extra time but probably you do. Time isn’t constant so we can manipulate it! Look at all the parts of your life and simplify. Having trouble keeping your dorm room clean? Buy a few closet organizers. Then sort through the things you have and get rid of everything you don’t need. Simplifying everyday tasks like using a shower tote and a towel hook can shave off 5-10 minutes a day. Buying a kettle can be a huge time saver as can using a simple duvet set for your dorm room bedding so that you can just pull it up quickly in the morning and go. Limit your web surfing, game playing, TV watching and Facebook sessions to a set period of time everyday. Once the time is over, its time to go back to work!
4. Beware of the Time Vampires
These are people that can literally consume your life with prattle. They make great procrastination buddies. Sitting over a cup of coffee they will suggest maybe a little shopping or a quick trip to the mall. Don’t dump these friends just realize that they are literally sucking your life away. Once identified change your social habits with them and you will probably find hours and hours of new time to get your work done.
5. Dump the Drama
Procrastinators are often great drama queens. Having emotional breakdowns is just another excuse not to work. It also consumes enormous amounts of time and generally leads to absolutely nothing productive. Feel yourself starting to complain or rant? Take a few deep breaths or go to the gym and dump the feelings into a treadmill for 15 minutes. Procrastination, just like dramatic emotional episodes is often about control. If you can’t control the outcome then you don’t have a problem. Move forward and onward and focus on things that really matter!