I can’t seem to stop procrastinating, and I’m really worried about it. What should I do?
We’ve all been there. You open a blank Word document with the intention of knocking out your five-page English paper, but before you know it, you’ve scrolled through half your Facebook feed. As a busy junior, I’m sure you’ve realized that effective time management is crucial to earning good grades, while still going to bed at a decent hour. Procrastination hurts your ability to achieve both.
The answer to how to prevent this problem lies in breaking up a task into smaller chunks. Writing a five-page English paper becomes a rather daunting task if you simply start writing without thinking the assignment through. After 10 or 20 minutes of starting to write your paper, you’re likely to find a way to procrastinate and justify the excuse to yourself by claiming that you’re simply taking a quick break that eventually turns into…well, a longer break than you had anticipated.
Instead of falling into the trap of procrastination, you can say to yourself, “I’m going to spend ten minutes outlining this paper. Then I’ll spend another 20 minutes writing the introduction.” In this way, you can avoid procrastinating by allotting a certain amount of time to each part of the larger task.
Budgeting your time, whether you use this method or another, will help you boost your overall productivity. In addition to breaking up larger tasks into smaller ones, I often reward myself after meeting one of my smaller goals. For example, I reward myself with five minutes to go on my phone if I finish my math homework, for instance. It’s a great way to encourage yourself to power through a challenging task, whatever it may be.
Cutting off your ability to procrastinate, too, can be helpful. If you tend to binge watch too much TV on Netflix, the StayFocusd app on the Google Chrome store can be downloaded for free. This app makes procrastination a lot more challenging by blocking your access to time-wasting websites of your choice.
Whichever way you choose to stop procrastinating, it’s probably a good idea to address the issue quickly, especially before the stress of APs, exams and standardized testing truly hits us in the spring.