My first semester of college has only just started but I am already falling victim to the monster called procrastination. I am trying my best to not procrastinate because I know from experience what a major impact it can have on my grades. I know almost everybody procrastinates from time to time so I wanted to share some tips I have found helpful in avoiding procrastinating.
1. Have a physical to-do list
This is extremely important because you can see everything that you have to do in front of you. This can either stress you into getting focused and working or motivate you. It is a crucial first step, but it can also backfire.
2. Plan studying ahead of time and tell everyone
When you make your to-do list, look at your schedule and block out study time when you don't have classes or clubs. But just blocking out time does nothing. You have to tell your friends or anyone else that might distract you that you are going to be studying at the designated time. This will prevent your friends from trying to make plans when you plan to study and this way you won't have the temptation to not study.
3. Study with friends
Not everyone should follow this tip. Some people get very distracted while studying with friends, while for others it helps them. I kind of think that studying with friends is like "social facilitation." Being around others who are studying makes me also want to study. This concept is kind of why there was that trend of YouTubers recording themselves studying and posting the video. Studying with friends lets me study while also still being with friends. Even if you can't study with friends, I highly recommend still being around people while studying.
4. Go to the library or quiet lounge
I LOVE going to the library to study. If not the library then the quiet lounge at my campus student center. I am not necessarily always studying with friends in the library but there are always people around me working which helps me also stay focused and makes me feel guilty when I go on my phone to scroll through Instagram.
5. Keep your phone away while studying
This is honestly the hardest for me but it is also the most helpful. I try to put my phone away and if I want to listen to music I plug earbuds into my laptop. For the excuse of keeping track of time, I just wear a watch. However, if you NEED your phone for whatever reason, then I would first delete all the social media apps off of it then.
6. Delete social media off of your phone
This is very, very hard. But, during the second half of my sophomore year of high school, I deleted Facebook and Instagram off of my phone and it really helped me focus and improve my grades. Some people just turn notifications off but I personally don't find that helpful because then I am just more tempted to look at my phone and go on those apps. It takes some time to get used to but it really helps keep a clear mind once you get into the habit of not scrolling through social media every few minutes. You don't have to permanently delete your social media apps though. I usually delete the apps on weekdays and then reload it on Friday afternoons. Honestly, after some time it becomes very easy to do this.
7. Get started right after class
An easy way to stop procrastinating is to start homework and assignments after class. I like this because after class you are already in the academic/studying zone. The only thing to this is that it can get a little mentally tiring. If you are very tired then I would take a short break.
8. Limit breaks to one hour
Every Monday and Wednesday, I have a 1.5-hour bio lecture. I love my bio class and my professor makes even the most boring content fun. But there is so much information in my lectures that I get mentally EXHAUSTED afterward. That is why I take a half an hour or hour food break with friends in my class. I also would recommend you take a short break after class if you need. However don't take one longer than an hour. It just wastes time that could be spent doing something more productive.
9. Drink coffee
I am the type of person that always gets sleepy while studying at the library. This is why I always take coffee with me. It helps wake me up and get focused again. If you aren't a coffee person there are still many other options such as tea, sugar, and pretty much anything from Starbucks/Dunkin.
10. Think long term
Sometimes when none of these things help me and I still am not willing to start studying, I think about my ultimate goal. My dream is to become a doctor. That is the only field I want to be in. Thinking about becoming a doctor reminds me that I need exceptional grades to get into medical school. The content I am learning in my classes in college is crucial for the medical field. That always helps me so I suggest you also think about your goals and the long term when you really have to get work done but have no motivation.