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Discover what procrastination is, how to challenge it and meet your goals

  • 16 December 2021
  • 4 min read

One of the biggest differences between school, college and university is the freedom you have.

Being responsible for your own study time and meeting deadlines can be challenging.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination means putting something off. This could be starting a piece of work, studying for an exam, writing your college application or something else.

You might feel like you just are a procrastinator and can't change. This isn't true. Figure out why you procrastinate in order to challenge it.

Common reasons people procrastinate:

  • Not knowing where to start
  • Not knowing where to go next
  • Worrying you won’t get it right, or the outcome won’t be good enough
  • Getting distracted
  • Deadlines are far away
Do these sound like you? Keep reading to find out about strategies to beat procrastination and how to identify your own time management habits.

3 strategies to beat procrastination

Eat the Frog

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day” – Mark Twain

This sounds weird, but it’s suggesting that if you tackle the biggest or least favourite tasks first then you’ve overcome your biggest or hardest task of the day and everything else should feel much easier after that.

The Pomodoro Technique

This technique is all about keeping fresh and staying motivated by completing short bursts of work whilst you are ‘mentally fresh’.

Step 1: Pick a task that you need to complete.
Step 2 :Set yourself a 25 minute timer.
Step 3: Work on your task, with no distractions or interruptions for the full 25 minutes.
Step 4: Once the timer rings, take a 5 minute break.

Repeat steps 1 to 4 until you have completed the task or completed 4 blocks of 25 minutes.When you complete 4 blocks of time, give yourself a longer, 15 to 30 minute break.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Also referred to as Urgent-Important Matrix, helps you decide on and prioritise tasks by urgency and importance. Split your tasks into the 4 boxes depending on whether the tasks are urgent, not urgent, important or not important.

For example making sure you finish your homework before tomorrow's deadline is both urgent and important so would go in the top left box.

Example of the Eisenhower Matrix

Take our personal habits quiz

Below are a set of questions designed to help you identify some of your personal habits and traits in relation to your time management.

Answer them as honestly as possible and try to think of examples from your school work to help you decide on the most appropriate answer.

Answer YES or NO to each question and keep a tally so you can add them up afterwards:

  1. Do you complete your homework in the order it is given to you, rather than in order of when it is due in?
  2. Do you get distracted by unimportant interruptions when working on an urgent task?
  3. Do you put off tasks that are daunting or overwhelming?
  4. When you’re working on a group task, do you complete jobs yourself that could be shared with others?
  5. Do you schedule breaks when working on a big project like an essay or assignment?
  6. Is your desk, bedroom or workspace untidy making it difficult to find things?
  7. Do you find it difficult to make decisions?
  8. Do you frequently lack the concentration to see tasks through to the end?
  9. Do you spend longer than necessary on pieces of work because you’re worried it won’t be perfect?

How many 'NO's did you get?

Congratulations – others can learn from your positive time management techniques.

Reasonable – but no cause for smugness. Start working on those YES answers.

You could do with making some changes to your time management.

Time for some urgent changes – there are plenty of simple techniques to help you make some positive changes.


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