• Ryan Haisler

5 Ways to Stay Productive and Avoid Procrastination

For many students, procrastination is a major problem. This is especially true in online and virtual school, as assignments seem to rapidly pile up from various classes. Waiting to do these assignments until their deadline will not only contribute significantly to stress, but it will also allow you less time to spend on things you actually enjoy, and will additionally worsen the overall quality of your assignments, as you may feel inclined to rush to finish an assignment. This article will provide a few helpful tips to beat procrastination, and ultimately enjoy a more productive, balanced life.


1. Scheduling

When assignments pile up and extracurriculars become hectic, it’s easy to “forget” about an assignment until the day that it’s due, which would ultimately cause one to procrastinate. However, through the use of a schedule, this procrastination can be limited to a great extent, as you’ll be constantly aware and cognizant regarding what assignments you actually have to complete. To effectively schedule your assignments, take a look at the syllabus or calendar which each class provides you, or wherever you are intended to submit assignments. Then, the weekend before a school week, allocate assignments later in the week to an earlier day. Through this, you’ll be considerably less likely to forget assignments, and less likely to procrastinate as a result.


2. Taking Advantage of Short Time Intervals

A common cause of procrastination is the feeling of being overwhelmed. When presented with such a broad range of assignments, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and attempt to ignore them. However, you’ll be able to complete the work you need faster if you take advantage of short intervals. Believe it or not, these intervals are relatively common. From the time between classes, to a study hall or enrichment period, time to finish assignments is everywhere. However, most students waste this time, spending it on their phones, or simply doing nothing. Although these short time intervals may seem insignificant, as attempting to start work during a ten-minute break may appear futile, these intervals add up quickly, and short ten-minute intervals turn into hours. If you try and work during these short time intervals, you’ll be less overwhelmed when school ends, as you’ll have less work to actually complete.


3. Designating a Study Time

Often, students don’t know when they actually want to begin their homework. While it may be optimal to begin right after school, people are typically, and rightfully, tired of hours of instruction, schoolwork, and activity. However, you don’t want to start your homework late at night, when you’re tired, less efficient, and more stressed. For these reasons, it's important to designate a specific study time. This study time should be at least an hour in length, in order to allow you a significant portion of time to finish any assignments. However, it shouldn’t necessarily be more than 4-5 hours, as it may be hard to maintain continued concentration for that long of a period. Through this time, you should be able to complete the majority of assignments that you weren’t able to during the smaller intervals of the day.


4. Eliminate Distractions

A significant portion of time is often spent on distractions. These distractions include social media, video games, and Youtube videos. If you spend a significant amount of time on these distractions, this may leave very little time to complete your assignments due to procrastination, leading to these assignments being very rushed and low-quality. In order to effectively spend enough time on necessary work, eliminating distractions is a good start. Instead of keeping your phone close to you while working with notifications enabled, consider turning notifications off, or even turning the phone off. Furthermore, try and work in a quiet place, to ensure that no other distractions emerge. In doing this, you’ll be able to finish your work at a better pace.


5. Take Regulated Breaks

Even though procrastination may emerge when breaks are taken, attempting to work without taking a single break will lead to burnout and worse productivity overall. In order to effectively combat this, it is important to take regulated, measured breaks, which shouldn’t be longer than 5-15 minutes. During these short breaks, one should attempt to move to a different environment than one’s workspace, in order to fully benefit from the purposes of this break. However, it is important to not let this break continue any longer than initially allotted. Five minutes may turn to ten, then twenty, then thirty. Therefore, while breaks may be important, it is important to measure and regulate them for best efficiency.


Hopefully, you’re able to put these tips to good use and enjoy a productive upcoming few weeks. However, it's sometimes okay to break the rules designated earlier. As long as you don’t make breaking these rules a habit, you’d simply be taking a well-deserved break.


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