Beat Procrastination

In procrastination, writing on September 17, 2008 at 2:25 am

Researchers have found that 95% of students procrastinate (Ellis and Knaus, qtd. in Senecal, Koestner, and Vallerand). I know it’s easy to do.  I procrastinate too. When I should be writing, I end up reading articles online, watching TV, hanging out with the cat, organizing the shoes in my closet, or deciding that by bookshelves really must be alphabetized. When it comes to writing on a deadline, though, it’s important to start your paper as early as possible, to make room for the writing process. If English is your second language, avoiding procrastination is even more important, since you might need a little extra time to think about grammar and language.

This doesn’t mean that you have to write your paper the day it’s first assigned, abandon your social life, and pull all-nighters for the next two weeks. Do get started with brainstorming right away, though. Write down a few ideas, and build on these thoughts a little at a time. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to expand what you’ve already started and build the paper step by step, rather than in one marathon session.

How to stop procrastinating? A few quick (and practical) ideas:

  1. Turn off the TV.
  2. Turn off instant messaging, and close your email program.
  3. Put your cell phone on silent, and move it to another room.
  4. Get a kitchen timer, and set it for 15 minutes. Do whatever you can do on the project until the timer goes off. Do not stop to rest or check messages or to browse Facebook. Focus completely on this one project for a full 15 minutes. You’ll feel so much better when you have. I promise!

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