If you’re dragging your feet to get assignments in when they’re due, then it’s probably time to try something new. The clock and calendar can be any one’s worse nightmare, especially when you throw a full-time job and a full class schedule into the mix. Nobody wants to get penalized for turning in a paper or assignment late, but sometimes it happens. Make the most of the time you have, and actually get things done.
This is easier than it seems. Waiting to the last minute is a choice, but with better time management and organization skills, you won’t have to dread due dates anymore.
- Have a goal in mind? Write it down. Listing is a great way to organize your thoughts and priorities. You can include class assignments, deadlines for projects, and anything you have going on at home. As long as you have it written down, you can physically see what you need to work on. Sometimes making a deadline tangible will give you the initiative to see it through to completion.
- Pick a date. This one is easy enough, but often overlooked. We book doctor appointments, hair appointments, and vacations, but why not school? Just as important, if not more so, than other more trivial “dates”. Set a date to accomplish the task and then move on to the next thing on your list.
- Don’t get stuck, give yourself a break. Oftentimes, we find ourselves trapped in a bubble of deadlines, strict schedules, and no breathing room. When this happens loosen up the slack and re-prioritize everything you have going on. Working in small intervals can be best here. Instead of applying a level of perfectionism to each task, assess each task’s importance and give it the appropriate amount of intensity.
- Ask for help. If you feel stuck, or like you can’t get started, don’t let that deter you from beginning altogether. Help can come from several angles. Try your professor, a classmate, a family member or a friend. Inspiration can come from the strangest places, don’t hold back on asking for help when in need.
- Finish your list. “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task” – William James As you approach your “due date” removing more trivial items from your list may help in motivating you to finish the things that really need to get done. Say a project worth a good portion of your grade, this should have priority over other items. Make sure to allot time to the bigger tasks, so you don’t get sidetracked with the smaller ones.
Teachers typically give extended due dates to projects that require more planning and time, keep that in mind and don’t save it for the last minute. As with most things in life, moderation and a steady pace will help keep your head above water. You’ll just need to decide whether you want to sink or swim to get there. It’s really all about balance in the end. Making the best use of your time can be the key to breaking out of a procrastination rut.