Procrastination: Cause and Cure
by Flora M. Brown, Ph.D.
June 1, 2001
Having fun with friends is a major pastime among college students. When it takes priority over getting assignments completed, however, procrastination has reared its ugly head again. In Part 1 we discussed some causes and results of procrastination. What can you do about procrastination?
There are at least six ways to cure procrastination.
1. Change your flawed thinking to positive, realistic thinking. In my childhood the adults always had a quaint saying for every occasion. For procrastination my favorites are “Time waits for no man.” “Strike while the iron is hot.” “He who hesitates is lost.” or one from Mae West, “He who hesitates is last. ”These old sayings still hold meaning. You can’t wait until you’re in the mood to finish important tasks; you must use positive self-talk to get yourself motivated.
2. Set clear goals for yourself. Your goals must be attainable. If not, perhaps they need to be broken into small chunks or revised altogether. With specific tasks work backwards from the due date with a calendar in hand. Be realistic about how much time it will take to get the parts done. Most important in setting your goals is to avoid overloading yourself. Trying to take 18 units, work 40 hours and raise a family is a blueprint for failure or at least heightened stress.
3. Prioritize and break up your tasks. Have you ever tried to consume a steak in one bite? Probably not. Neither should you expect to finish an academic project in one step. Even a one-page report may take hours to research, compose, draft and polish. Put all your assignment due dates on a semester calendar along with test dates. Determine how many parts each assignment will take and work on one piece at a time.
4. Organize your work area and tools before you begin. Resist the urge to clean your work space at this time--that’s just another procrastination tactic. But you’ll waste precious time and lose your momentum if you have to stop for pen, pencils, paper or your books.
5. Use reminders to help you remember important tasks. Refer to your master calendar, but also use post-its, a memo book and other memory aids.
6. Reward yourself. When you’ve successfully completed a task give yourself a treat. This will reinforce your positive self-esteem. Now you’ll feel more positive about approaching the next task.
For more tips to cure procrastination, visit http://slc.berkeley.edu/ and click open Strategy Tips for Studying. Go to The Procrastination Plan.
See Part 1