With school underway and the to-do list slowly getting longer, you might feel overwhelmed and surrender to procrastination, rather than take control of your schedule and ace your academics. This is common and you are not the sole student procrastinating. Change is not impossible. You can start shifting your behavior following these four tips.
Let Go of Perfectionism
A study “found that people who could be more self-forgiving about failures experience less procrastination later.” (Graham) Instead of beating yourself up for missing a deadline or not accomplishing as much as you wish, let go of perfectionism and try to observe the situation differently, allowing and accepting your faults. To your surprise, once you let go of the highest standards and accept yourself as you are with your successes and failures, you begin to improve!
Most of us believe that if we are self-compassionate, we allow ourselves to slack off, achieve less, and stick to the status quo. However, scientific evidence has proved the opposite. Research suggests that “by interrupting the loop between negative self-talk and procrastination, self-compassion may help us avoid the stress associated with procrastination, extricate ourselves from that downward spiral, and help us change our behavior for the better.” (Graham) Therefore, cultivating a daily self-compassion practice, whether through a journal or a short guided meditation at the beginning or end of every day can develop self-trust, which then leads to improved planning and decreases the likeliness of self-sabotage through procrastination.
Love Your Planner
Another way to avoid procrastination is to set a realistic schedule. First, write down a list of all that you need to do, from the biggest to smallest task on your calendar. Make sure that everything that could cross your mind to get done is there. Then add these to-dos into your schedule, allowing time for fun and time for nothing scheduled to allow spontaneity. Being realistic and self-aware when going through this process is very important, as you need to make sure that you only schedule exactly what you need to do and give it enough time for you to accomplish it.
Consider an Accountability Buddy
At times, having an accountability buddy is just about the best solution for avoiding procrastination. When you make a commitment to yourself and a friend, you are far less likely to change your plans last minute in order to do something more relaxing than finishing an assignment that is due. Find a friend, a sibling, or anyone, who would serve as a non-judgmental accountability partner with which you can share responsibilities and remind each other to be productive when required and enjoy your time at the same time.
With these four tips, you can slowly build habits that help you avoid procrastination and support you along your journey towards productivity. For more information on procrastination, you can refer to the Greater Good Science Center at: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/