Student Opinion: How to Not Procrastinate
By: Natalie Brabec, a Leigh High School senior (and procrastinator)
Through my high school career, I feel that I have become talented at many things. But one of these things is unfortunately the art of procrastination. This is probably not the best skill to master but I try not to think about that! Now that I am in the second half of my senior year, I wanted to stop procrastinating, but that still has not happened thus far. But although I haven’t totally kicked the habit, I have picked up a few tips and tricks to keep my procrastination in check!
The first thing I do is that I create a list of what needs to be done. By doing this I am able to see everything tangibly in one spot. Sometimes, however, creating a list is not a good thing because it gives me anxiety from my list being so long! What helps when I am making my list is putting the assignment or project that is going to take me the most time and is the most important because then I can get the worst thing done first.
The second thing that helps me is that I clean up my area and eliminate distractions. Cleaning up my area where I am doing my work helps me because I am able to spread out my computer and any folders or books that I might need to use without moving other items in my area. Almost everyone has access to a phone or television, so those could be used as distractions. When I really need to focus and get things done, I put my phone on airplane mode to eliminate distractions.
Next, I recommend taking breaks. Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time is not good for anyone’s eyes or backs. Now when I say take a break, I do not mean go and sit in front of a phone. Some options for taking a break are taking a walk around the house, going and sitting outside, without any electronics, talking to your family or friends if they are in your house, or you could do a quick 5-minute exercise. The way that I have scheduled breaks when I am working is to work for 30 minutes then break for 5 minutes.
Also, I pay attention to deadlines. I may push the deadline, but I always get it done in time because I prioritize. Lets face it, sometimes even after you are working all night, there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. On a school night and I have to get a big long list of assignments and projects done, I try to get the project that needs to be done tomorrow done first.
Now that we have established some ways to overcome being a procrastinator, let's talk about the different types of procrastinators. Self-help literature on procrastination mostly agrees there are four common types: the Performer, the Self-Deprecator, the Overbooker, and the Novelty Seeker.
The first type is the performer. This type of procrastinator tells themselves that they work best under pressure, so they wait until the last minute. A way to overcome this is by setting a start day instead of an end date. The way that this helps is because someone is focusing on when they are starting it instead of when they need to get it done.
The second type is the Self-Deprecator. They tend to say “I can’t do this right now because I’m so lazy.” In reality, most Self-Deprecators aren’t lazy at all–they are just really tired from trying to do too much. One way to overcome this is just to take a nap and recharge your batteries when needed. Then get back at it.
The third type of a procrastinator is the Overbooker. This person books so much on their schedule, instead of actually working on what they need to get done, they always say that they are too busy to do anything. If this is you, the way to overcome this is by focusing on what you actually need to get done and what you are avoiding.
The fourth and final type is the Novelty Seeker. They keep finding new projects to work on, instead of finishing their projects they need to get done.
I feel that I am a Performer because I definitely have that little voice in my head that says “Oh, you do best under pressure.” And in a way, this is true; I have received some very good grades on my projects done last minute, but others not so much.
Unfortunately, doing everything on my list that I can to stop procrastinating still doesn’t always do the trick. Heck I try to do everything that I can to not procrastinate, including starting the project two months early! But when it comes down to the due date, I am somehow still up until 2 am doing the project. So even if my tips and tricks haven’t necessarily helped me totally rid myself of my procrastination habit, hopefully someone else can benefit! To all my fellow procrastinators out there, good luck!