Procrastination is a common problem, especially amongst students. In many other phases of life, activities are more structured. As a student, it’s often up to you to create a structure, especially if you have few classes and a lot of independent studies.
When you are younger you often have a set timetable, doing most of your studies in class during the day. When you work there are often set hours, meetings, and a workplace that creates more structure. It can help to think of your studies like a job and organise your time in a similar way.
Another factor that is often helpful is to change your environment when you change activity. This can for example be to study at a campus, a library, or a café. Studying together with others is something that works for many, some students have small study groups. Meeting someone at a certain time often makes it easier to prioritise studies, as you are accountable to someone else. You don’t need to study the same thing, just have a common goal to study.
A recommendation is to use a calendar to plan, prioritise, and perform tasks. Remember to plan when to do what and divide tasks into small parts so they are achievable. It’s also important to be realistic in your planning, try to pace yourself so you can last in the long run.
Breaks are important to regain new energy and can be seen as rewards for focusing for a period. How long one can focus is different for different individuals and different tasks, but 25-45 minutes is common. Find out what works for you and plan for shorter and longer breaks throughout the day. Being social, going outside, and exercising during your breaks can be revitalising.
A tip is to set a timer for the break to make sure to return to studying. There are good methods, such as the Pomodoro technique, that can be used to regulate your time. Try to also take longer breaks, like weekends or days off.
Many of us have constant distractions with phones and social media. Know yourself and make sure to avoid distractions by closing down programs you don’t need on your screen, putting away your phone, or using silent mode. There are also many helpful apps that are based on the Pomodoro technique that can help you to lock your phone for a set time.
If you want help to create structure, to not procrastinate, you can participate in our student anti-procrastination group, “Do it now!”, which meets once a week to support each other and help create structure.