Online studies require focus, time management, and motivation. But carrying out good intentions doesn’t always go as planned. If procrastination keeps you from reaching academic goals, don’t put off trying these six tips:
- Do Something
Start with this classic: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and tell yourself you can quit when that period is up. Chances are high that when the alarm rings, you’ll actually keep going. Psychologists have a name for this phenomenon – the Zeigarnik Effect. Basically, what happens is that not finishing what you start causes mental tension, and the only way to get rid of that unpleasant feeling is to get done.
- Create Manageable Chunks
Large assignments lose their power of intimidation when broken into pieces, making students less apt to procrastinate. Got a term paper? Create a list of the steps involved, such as brainstorming a topic, performing research, writing a draft, and polishing. Check each entry off when finished to provide a sense of accomplishment.
- Eliminate Distractions
Get away from anything that encourages you to procrastinate. A TV in the other room lacks as great of a lure as one right by your study spot. Likewise, if the kids are playing Jenga, head to a quieter floor or to the library.
- Give Your Word
Procrastination becomes harder when others hold you accountable. You don’t want to look bad in front of them or disappoint. Enlist a buddy to check in on your weekend mid-term studying marathon. Tell your son you’ll take him for ice cream once you’ve read this week’s chapter. Pair up with a classmate to watch an online lecture at the same time.
- Offer a Reward
Positive reinforcement isn’t just for elementary school! That chocolate chip cookie waiting in the kitchen can be the light at the end of the tunnel after finishing a set of math problems, or look forward to a half hour of mindless reality shows when all items are crossed off your class to-do list.
- Assemble an Inspiration Board
Finally, whether you choose Pinterest or a regular old bulletin board, producing a tangible reminder of your goals can spur activity. Put in pictures of a graduation cap and gown or the European vacation you want to take after securing a higher paycheck. Include confidence-building quotes, family photos, a mock straight-A report card . . . whatever boosts your productivity!