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January 10, 2018

3 Tips That Keep You From Procrastinating

How can you drop that bad habit of procrastinating and become motivated to finish your work on time?

My mornings in secondary school were busy…but not so productive.

Each day at school before class started, I sat on the floor with my back against my locker, put my dull pencil to paper, and rushed through as much of my homework as I could before the bell rang. When my friends teased me about it, I pretended to take pride in my “procrastination skills,” saying things like, “I work better under pressure,” or “I can finish assignments twice as fast as anyone else in class. Trust me.”

The truth is: I was a procrastinator. I convinced myself that hastily completing my assignments the morning before class was easier than completing them the night before, and my grades suffered for it.  I’ve grown up a lot since high school, but it still seems just as easy to put off my homework due to other distractions.

Procrastinating can be a common habit for many online students, especially because many are juggling a career, active family life, and church calling while taking classes at the same time.

Here are a few tips that have helped me overcome my habit of procrastinating. I believe that if students use these ideas, they could see major improvements in their grades and stress levels — just like I have.

Write down due dates of your assignments to remind yourself of the scheduling goals you’ve made.

1. Schedule Out Your Day

My clock just seems to tick faster in the evenings. You probably know how it feels. One hour quickly slips to the next. With four hours until an assignment is due, the deadline still seems  far away. “It’s not that big of an assignment anyway,” you may tell yourself. “I can get it done quickly.” You finish up a few more chores around the house, glance up at the clock and are shocked to see that you have an hour to complete your assignment. You race to the computer and sprint through your work, completing it with five minutes to spare.

If you designate a specific part of the evening to homework, you’ll never have to wonder if the work will get done.

It’s evenings like this where scheduling out your activities becomes extremely helpful. If you designate a specific part of the evening to homework, you’ll never have to wonder if the work will get done. Stress drains from your mind when you know exactly when, where, and how your work will be completed.

If you plan to start at a certain time, then start at that time! Set alarms on your phone, keep a planner, and write down due dates of your assignments to remind yourself of the goals you’ve made.

“Am I really that busy, or am I just finding ways to put off my work until later?”

2. Make a Goal to Finish and Follow Through

Laura Vanderkam, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, said, “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels.”1

Sometimes I convince myself that there are other tasks I need to complete before starting on my homework, but really I’m just trying to justify my procrastination.  

I could give excuse after excuse as to why I should procrastinate my homework; but at the end of the day, I just have to be honest with myself. Am I really that busy, or am I just finding ways to put off my work until later?

I want to be successful not only to help myself, but to help my family, too.

3. Remember Your Purpose

For a long time, I believed that school was just something that got in my way. I didn’t think about how my grades could affect my future schooling, or even my professional career. It’s easy at times to forget the reasons why a higher education is really important.

When I feel the urge to put off my assignments, procrastinate my work, or become distracted, I try to remind myself why I’m in school in the first place. I want to be successful not only to help myself, but to help my family, too. When I put an eternal perspective on my coursework — even for the small assignments — it becomes much easier to get it done with time to spare.

Move Forward With Focus

Having a life more focused on accomplishing goals won’t only help you in school, but throughout many aspects of your life as well.

Procrastination is an easy trap to fall into, but with focus and determination, you can remove it from your life. If you do this, you’ll find that your coursework becomes less stressful and more fulfilling.

To see the courses PathwayConnect offers, visit www.byupathway.lds.org. You can also learn more about time management and goal setting skills by reading Boost Your Productivity

  1.  ^ Vanderkam, Laura. “Are You As Busy As You Think?” The Wall Street Journal, 22 Feb. 2012. (Requires subscription) 

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