I've always struggled with procrastination, especially when I was in school and university, it was definitely not a minor occasional issue...I'd look at my phone and find it to be 9 p.m. and I've only done one thing. When I started working, and especially nowadays since I'm working from home, I started integrating a couple of tips and strategies to help me be more productive. So, if you're studying from home because of the pandemic and unsure about how to get through the work, let's talk about the best tips to stop procrastinating and how to study at home effectively.
We also have tips on how to work from home that are really helpful...
1. Why do you procrastinate?
Let's start with actually understanding procrastination, to help us effectively reduce it. Procrastination is a habit. It is a habit that we develop as a form of stress relief. Yes, you procrastinate because you're stressed. Habits can be changed but you need to start by acknowledging that you're stressed and noticing when you procrastinate.
Now when you find yourself starting to procrastinate, stop and tell yourself, "I'll work just for like 4 or 5 min and then get back to Instagram." You will find that you actually continued to work for a lot longer than 5 min and you probably even finished the task.
Why? Because the hardest part is to actually start. With practicing this technique we found, by Mel Robbins, you will slowly start breaking that habit.
2. Wake up before anyone else does
I find this to be one the most helpful things for me. I am the most productive really early in the morning, before anyone at home wakes up. You will find there will be less distractions, reasons to leave the books and the day seems really long ahead of you, so you're more motivated to finish things up so you can have the night off. The house is also really silent and calm.
3. Leave your phone in another room
I know you've heard this a million times and you're probably sick of it, but I promise you, you have no idea how much time you'll save. You'll actually end up saving so much time to the point where at night you'll actually get a lot more time on your phone than if you'd had procrastinated with it while you were studying.
4. If that's too hard, leave it on silent
Maybe try turning off the notifications and keep it on silent. That way, your phone will be less distracting, but you won't lose the comfort of having it next to you. And the percentage of reaching out to grab it will be much more balanced and controlled by you.
5. Take 15 min breaks every 2 hours
It's very important to give yourself a break to shut off your brain and the intense concentration. If you keep going for hours without stopping, it will drain and exhaust you, and your productivity level will fall. Time a 15 min break, every 2 hours or so. It will also help you while you're studying to have something to look forward to, so it doesn't seem endless.
Here's a list of interesting and fun things to do in your free time...
6. Set a working time
You really need to give yourself working hours. I remember in school it was very depressing for me to feel like I've been studying from the moment I woke up until I went to bed. Give yourself 8 or 10 hours of studying time. Have a strict starting time and when the 8 hours are over, leave the desk whether you're done or not. You can finish it tomorrow. It's very important to have an organized routine.
7. Split your to do list in half
Your to do list is your best friend these days. Making one in the beginning of the day is absolutely essential. It will organize the panic and chaos in your head and will motivate you to keep going when you start checking things off. An important tip is to actually split it into 2 sections; 'The utmost priorities' and the 'I can do this later/can be postponed'. This is really helpful if you find yourself unsure about where to begin and it will make you feel less guilty to see things not checked off in the 2nd section because you've decided that it's okay to leave them for another day.
8. List down every single chapter or page
I used to do this trick that might sound a bit ridiculous or childish, but it did wonders for my impatience and excessive procrastination. I listed down every single chapter or even page I needed to get done. I would then be checking off something off my to do list every 15 min or so. It made me feel like I was the most productive person in the world and the more I checked things off the more I wanted to finish.
9. Challenge a friend
Call a friend and challenge them to a studying race. The person who finishes this chapter first gets to buy the other a chocolate bar or owes them a week worth of class notes. It's a nice way to take the edge off and have something unrelated to exams and deadlines to keep you going. Plus, the more you lose the more you'll want to prove that you can win, and hence the more studying you end up finishing
10. Start with your least favorite thing
Again, procrastination has a lot to do with avoidance. You spend the entire day dreading to start reading that chapter or research paper, so you keep slowing down and doing everything other than that thing. If you actually start with it in the morning, when you're the most productive, you'll get rid of it and have the rest of the day, with less energy, to do the things that are easier and lighter on you.
11.Give yourself a reward to look forward to
We often need a push and something that excites us to look forward to. Challenge yourself to finish this amount of work, and when you're done you'll reward yourself with a piece of cake or a Netflix episode or even some bath time. It will push you to power through studying so you can get to that reward.
12. If you can concentrate with music...
I used to finish so many math problems when I was listening to music, I actually ended up enjoying it. If it doesn't distract you or slow you down, try it. It will make things a lot more enjoyable and will def pass the time. I discovered some great albums back in the day.
13. Just start the paper...
If you have a paper or essay to write, you probably know that the hardest part is actually starting it. Most of my college days were spent on writing papers and I always used to avoid writing them until the last minute. I realized it's because I struggled with starting the paper. So, I started to force myself to start it even If I write nonsense. I found that the moment I started it, everything else flowed. I ended up finishing them and slowly breaking that habit of avoidance, because I knew I just needed to type an intro...
14. Work out in the morning
Working out in the morning, before you start studying, will give you such a nice kick of energy and dopamine or as they say 'happy hormones' that will make the day a lot lighter and you will feel 10 times more motivated.
We have some home workout ideas to help you out...
15. Take a day off to re-energize
It's okay to take a full day off. I know this could sound like it's a waste of time, but it's actually the complete opposite. When you rest in the middle for a full day, you're re-energizing and refreshing your mind and body. That way you will be a lot more motivated and productive the next day because you're well rested.
Main Image Credits: Instagram @westelm