If you are like me, a habitual procrastinator, you probably find yourself procrastinating university work often, choosing to do anything other than that deadline that is coming up scarily soon. I have worked tirelessly throughout my life to combat my procrastination habits, and I have built up a range of tips I use to stop avoiding tasks, which I will be sharing with you here.

What does procrastination cause?

As someone who procrastinates, I avoid what seems to be a difficult task in favour of other, more enjoyable distractions. At some level, I am aware that the actions of delaying something have negative consequences, but it becomes a habit to do this, which makes it is difficult to stop. For me, this can cause feelings of guilt, worry, and frustration.

Setting goals and personal deadlines

Procrastinators may resent the feeling that they are being forced to do something. To combat this, try setting yourself personal goals and deadlines on set tasks to manage your time in a way you feel comfortable with.

For example, I know it takes a long time for me to complete assignments as I get overwhelmed by the deadline given, so as soon as I receive the assignment brief, I always go straight to my planner and plan how I am going to complete this task. By doing this, I am less likely to procrastinate as I choose when to complete my assignments, and I have wiggle room, if I accidentally miss a few days, as I always set myself a deadline earlier than the one the lecturer gives.

Ask for help

I always ask my partner for help by getting him to ask me at lunchtime what I achieved so far that day. This is not for everyone, but the idea of asking someone for help is beneficial as they can support you and keep you accountable to stay on track. Having personal goals and plans is great, but procrastination can cause you to ignore these plans if you are the only one who knows about them. By getting someone to check up on how you are doing, you have a reason to stay accountable for completing said tasks.

I know how happy I feel when I have got everything done that I might usually spend my time watching Netflix or gaming instead. Never feel afraid to reach out for support from others (be it friends, family, or university) to keep you on track as they will be more than happy to help.

Your workspace is important when combating procrastination because you associate different places with different activities.

The importance of workspace

Are you currently reading this on your laptop in bed instead of at a desk? Well, continue to read this blog, but afterwards try moving from your bed to a table.

Your workspace is important when combating procrastination because you associate different places with different activities. I found that working from bed not only impacts my productivity, but it can affect my sleep too, as my body will stop associating my bed with rest. As much as it is comfy to work under your duvet, try working somewhere else for a few days and see how your focus increases.

Divide up your work

Being given the task to complete a large report or read thirty pages for a seminar can seem extremely daunting. When this happens, it can lead to procrastination as it can feel impossible to even know where to begin. I try breaking my work down, for example, if I have a week until the thirty pages need to be done, I try reading six pages over five days instead. It takes less time out of my day to complete this, makes the task more manageable for my mind to process, and I feel less daunted by completing it. 

Also, make sure your goals are achievable. I aim to write no more than three tasks down each day in my to do list. If you have too much on your list, just like the large tasks above, it will be too much pressure on you to complete. Instead, be intentional with what activities you want to do and when they are finished you can decide to do more depending on how you feel, making the process of completing tasks a more positive experience.

Overall, my greatest tip to you is to aim for good, not perfect. Procrastinating never helps you get closer to your goal but attempting your work for fifteen minutes will. Make sure to plan everything you want to achieve and set up a workspace where you know you are likely to focus the most. It is okay to procrastinate once in a while, I often find myself doing it. The aim is to constantly work on combatting situations where you find yourself avoiding tasks the most, and always be proud when you overcome your desire to procrastinate. It's difficult, but I hope these tips help you achieve everything you want to during your time at Leeds Beckett and beyond.

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