Procrastination is a very common problem, especially amongst students. In many other phases in life, activities are more structured. 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. 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. 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, if possible, to change environment when you change activity. This can for example be to study at the university, a library, or a café.
Studying together with others is yet another tip. Some students have small study groups that meet together in person or online. Meeting someone at a certain time often makes it easier to prioritize studies, as you are accountable to someone else. You don’t need to study the same thing, just have the common goal to study.
We highly recommend using a calendar to plan, prioritize, 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.
Pauses are important to fill up with new energy and can be seen as rewards for focusing for a period of time. 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. A tip is to set a timer for the break to make sure to return to studying. In addition, take breaks in longer stretches like weekends or days off.
Being social, going outside, and exercising during your breaks can be revitalizing. 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 or do not disturb. There are also many helpful apps that are based on the Pomodoro technique or that can help you to lock your phone for a set period of time.
Last, but not least, the Student Health Service offers an anti-procrastination group, “Do it now!”, that meets once a week to support each other and help create structure.