Supplement to “Getting Time on Your Side”
One of the biggest roadblocks to good time management is procrastination. You know you should be working on your history paper, or folding the laundry, but somehow that new DVD is calling to you irresistibly.
There are several reasons why students—and other busy people—procrastinate. Sometimes it’s because they feel overwhelmed, because a project seems so big that they don’t know where to start. It may be due to perfectionism—you are afraid that your term paper won’t be good enough, so just the thought of working on it makes you nervous. And some people procrastinate because doing things at the last minute just plain feels more exciting, though the quality of their work suffers.
Whatever the cause, procrastination can undermine your grades, and cause a lot of needless anxiety. Here are some tips to help you get back on track.
- Break your task into smaller pieces. “Write my history paper” looks almost impossible on your to-do list, while “go to the library for books” feels doable. Make a list of smaller tasks that you can tackle a little bit at a time.
- Start simple. If you have a long list of homework assignments tonight, warm up by doing the easiest one first. Then move on to the tougher ones.
- Try using a timer. For tasks you really hate, tell yourself, “I can do anything for 15 minutes.” Do your best, then stop when the timer goes off. Keep working away at the task in short bursts.
- Have someone check up on you. Ask a friend to call you later to see if you’ve finished your project.
- Give yourself rewards. Promise yourself a dish of ice cream, or half an hour of TV, after you’ve finished a big piece of your task.
To read the Kentucky Living September 2007 feature that goes along with this supplement, click here: Getting Time on Your Side