Procrastination is familiar territory to everyone. For college students, I’d argue that it gets worse and worse as the semester progresses. What started off as a semester of motivation and eagerness to learn has progressed into a weary routine of studying for midterms and debating on whether to go to lecture. We at The Daily Clog completely understand. That’s why we’ve created for you the ultimate guide to dealing with procrastination.
Have an exceptionally fun day out
When we procrastinate, we often opt to do spontaneous things like scrolling through social media or talking to our friends. While these acts may be easier than combing through our schoolwork, they don’t exactly offer us the most fulfillment. Instead, we’re left at an awkward halfway point where we know we’ve spent enough time procrastinating and that we should probably start studying, but somehow we also don’t feel fulfilled enough to continue our grind. And so, the vicious cycle of procrastination repeats.
The trick to breaking this cycle is to have a day filled with so much fun that it rejuvenates us completely. Thereafter, we’re motivated to continue our grind. It’s kind of like a ‘reset’, because god knows a 17-week semester at UC Berkeley is a long time. If it works with your schedule, choose a Saturday as your reset day — that way, you’ll have all of Sunday to do work. Plan a shopping spree, have a picnic with friends or explore cute cafes around town. When the sun goes down, opt for a night-in of self-care. Think face masks, video games or Pinterest mood boards. Whatever it is, make sure you don’t stay up too late. That way, you can wake up feeling revitalized the next morning, ready to dive into the depths of your workload once again.
Make a handwritten checklist
Checklists can be one of the most useful tools when it comes to dealing with procrastination. By having a clear and defined number of tasks in front of you, you’re more likely to begin with the end in sight. There’s also something so satisfying about manually crossing out a task that cannot be replicated by tapping the checkboxes on your phone or notebook. While this may seem like a minor thing, every bit of motivation counts when you’re more than halfway through the semester and this close to throwing in the towel.
A good checklist can also make a world of a difference in weeks where you’re pressed for time or have an unusually high number of deadlines. We have three tips for making checklists to conquer one of those weeks. First, order your tasks according to deadlines. Second, intersperse heavier assignments with lighter ones. Lastly, give yourself options because sometimes you just don’t feel like writing an essay or doing math.
Find your optimal place to study
Our ability to concentrate largely depends on how comfortable we feel in our environment. Thus, it’s worthwhile to spend some time scouting out your favorite place to study. Tour all the libraries, find a peaceful seating area or look for a dry patch of grass among the unending possibilities of our incongruous campus. For me, it’s simple. One of my favorite places to study is in the comfort of my dorm because I can sit in any position without being judged for it.
Every cloud has a silver lining
I’m not advocating for procrastination or anything of the like, but the truth of the matter is that procrastination exercises your ability to work under time pressure. By leaving work until the very last minute, you’re forced to narrow your focus and complete tasks in a limited amount of time. So if you’ve procrastinated for 24 hours (or less) before the deadline — which, we’ve all done — there’s no point stressing out about it even more. Look on the bright side and get started on those practice papers or writing that essay because not all is lost. In fact, kill two birds with one stone by doing your work and emulating exam conditions.
In all, The Clog would like to congratulate you for making it past the halfway point of the semester! Winter break is nearer than you think. If you feel the midterms taking their toll on you, remember that you are not alone in your journey. With that, we hope this guide will help you conquer procrastination and we wish you all the best for the final lap of the semester!