Tamzin, Wellbeing Champion, gives her 5 Top Tips for beating procrastination and boosting productivity!
Procrastinating is one of the major student vices and we all fall victim. Right now, I’m writing this blog while putting off my primary source analysis…
Here are my top tips to help manage and overcome procrastination!
5 Top Tips to power through procrastination
1. Make a list
Make lists of even the smallest things, so that washing your hair or putting your laundry away can feel like an achievement or what I like to call ‘productive procrastination’.
Another productive procrastination tip is to plan. Planning essays or presentations is still doing the work but without the commitment of completing it. Having completed a plan you have still done work and will be more prepared when the actual essay comes around to being written and won’t have the guilt of procrastinating through a whole evening.
3. Take regular breaks
Allocate yourself breaks from revision or in the middle of writing an essay to avoid procrastinating. Try the Pomodoro technique which suggests working for 25 minutes, having a 10-15 minute break, working for another 25 minutes and repeat…
You may find it productive to go for a quick walk when you’re brain starts to wander and come back to your task rather than forcing yourself to concentrate.
4. Try not to focus on the word count / amount of revision left
Don’t allow the word count to influence your work. Personally, I do this all the time – ‘it’s only 500 words I’ll just do it later.’ Regardless of word limit, the work has got to get done, and it’s certainly more calming to have completed it in advance, not two hours before submission! Plus, there’s nothing worse than getting half way through an essay only to realise there is so much you still need to mention. This is why planning is so essential!
Word counts are dangerous to focus upon because you may have a 1000 word essay which seems completely manageable, but when you have four to do by the same deadline date it becomes a lot more difficult! Therefore, make sure to plan (there’s that word again!) to avoid the panic of last minute/late night essay writing.
5. Reduce distractions
Turn off your phone and TV as they provide a distraction – before you know it a 15-minute break turns into a 2 hour Netflix marathon, or you keep getting distracted by Christmas adverts! You may find it helpful to download a procrastination phone app such as Cold Turkey which blocks any social media sites for an amount of time of your choosing, making it more difficult to browse and get distracted.
Sometimes it helps to go to a library or other study space for a set amount of time. That way you focus on the task on the way there and wind down on the way back. Sometimes making sure to separate work and home can be really beneficial.
If you’re going home for Christmas, choose a study time when you’re going to have the least distractions and maybe utilise local libraries. You may also be able to access study spaces in the closest university to your home address! Find out more information on using other libraries.
Procrastination usually hits hard at this time of year with deadlines looming but the festive period in full flow. It can be even more difficult to focus on essays when you’re at home surrounded by family, friends and festive fun! However, nobody says you must work all of the time, and there’s also no rule against doing your essay while eating a box of Quality Streets.
Mostly, overcoming procrastination all comes down to organisation, so instead of watching another episode of [insert favourite show] on Netflix, stop and do some work and then reward yourself with one more episode!
Like most things in life – it’s all about balance.
Get advice from a Wellbeing Champion
Wellbeing Champions and Postgraduate Peer Supporters are students who support other students to look after their wellbeing. They offer knowledge, experience, and social or practical help to fellow students, promoting the importance of self-care, providing information and signposting on a range of wellbeing-related issues and taking part in promotion activities across campus.
You can now chat to a champion online via Blackboard IM – read more here.
Struggling with stress?
Workshops could help!
The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service run workshops that could help you overcome exam anxiety, stress and procrastination:
Dealing with Exam Anxiety (Online), Tuesday 9 January
Mindfulness for Exams (Online), Wednesday 10 January
Mindfulness Drop-in Exam Stress Workshops, Wednesday 17 and 24 January
If you don’t want to attend a workshop, some of these will be carried out online so you can learn strategies from the comfort of your home.
For some more information about understanding and overcoming procrastination, there are some amazing modules online which you can work through, please click on the link below to find out more:
You may also be interested in attending a workshop delivered by the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service. Click here to find out more about their Managing Procrastination Workshop which is next being delivered in March 2018.
Contact us in Counselling Health & Wellbeing
If you are finding things difficult at the moment and you would like further support, please know that the Cardiff University Support Services are here for you – there is no problem too big or too small, and we offer a range of flexible support options including:
- Self-help resources
- Peer Support
- Wellbeing Workshops
- Courses and Groups
- Wellbeing Walk-in: Drop-in Service running Monday- Friday, 15:00-15:45, and Wednesday, 09:30-10:15
- Counselling and Wellbeing Appointments
- Face to Face, Online or Telephone
- Bookable appointments are available via our online referral questionnaire.
Watch our video to meet our friendly and approachable staff, who will listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space.
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website to view all of your GP options.
Your feedback and help please
Have you found this blog post useful? Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.
We’d also be grateful if you can share this information by re-tweeting or sharing with your fellow students who may find this useful – you can do this by using the share buttons or via twitter and Facebook.
Tamzin, Wellbeing Champion .
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus. For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.