Managing procrastination & distractions
It is so easy to put off studying and get distracted. How do you motivate yourself to stay on task, and is it the best way for you?
- Try starting with 5-10 minutes of study time and see if you want to continue
- Set yourself challenges: how much can you get done in 15 minutes, or can you find the answers to a set number of questions?
- Set small milestones to track your progress to complete bigger projects
- Change activities if you get bored, try mixing up reading, writing, listening and discussions with friends
- Create an environment where you won’t get distracted, make it comfortable and free from anything that will divert your attention.
- Use rewards as motivation and treat yourself after completing a set goal.
- Make time for relaxation and keeping healthy
At university, there will always be something going on and, without a strict 9 to 5 workday and no-one looking over your shoulder, it can be easy to put your seminar prep and essays last on your list of priorities.
So, here are some methods that have helped other students to cut down on procrastination.
It sounds obvious (and you will have heard it before), but not having your phone with you physically stops you from picking it up and aimlessly scrolling through social media when you get bored.
Sometimes a quick 30-minute focused session, followed by a break doing something you enjoy, can be more productive than sitting in front of your laptop for hours on end waiting for the productivity to hit.
If timed sessions are too much pressure, opt for setting a daily word goal. This can prevent you feeling overwhelmed when writing any longer assignments (like your dissertation).
For example: Work out how much you have to write and in what time-frame – including leaving time to edit, etc. Then set your goal (e.g. 400 words a day).
You may find that sitting in the same spot in the same room will mean that you’re procrastinating more.
At home it can be too easy to decide to have a nap or watch some Netflix – but if you’ve made the effort to get up and go find a good spot, you’re much more likely to do work and less likely to become distracted.
If you’ve not got much space, try finding somewhere new to study – places like the the library can be great for this.
When deadlines are looming, it can be difficult to justify taking a break, but it’s important to allow yourself time off too. Try to give yourself time to relax when making your study plan – it will not only benefit your work but, more importantly, support your mental health.
If you stick to your study plan or get a really good grade, take time to give yourself a treat.
More procrastination tips
Here’s a few more tips supplied by Lincoln students.
10 tips for the procrastinator
Here’s Student Wellbeing’s advice on how to avoid procrastination.