The Study Dude—Cures for Procrastination

Time to procrastinate by taking a glimpse at The Voice?  Well, fill up on our goods news to learn tricks to stop procrastination.  One great tool for toppling the put-it-off woes lies in timers.

My boyfriend has an uncanny sense of time.  He doesn’t need a watch to know the time.  He even guesses women’s childbirth dates before women know they’re pregnant.

My sense of time stinks.  I often don’t know whether it’s 3 or 9 pm.  So, to make up for poor time management, I learned tricks.

For one, never set clocks ahead fifteen minutes.  Instead, wake up fifteen minutes earlier.  Or better yet, go to bed earlier so you wake up less rushed.  After all, the world is geared for morning people.  So, conform if you can.

For another, use timers and scheduler apps.  When I took math while running a charity, I studied 30-minute stints with 15-minute breaks.  Outside of these break, I had no downtime.

Some study gurus say to study 45 minutes with 15-minute breaks.  Others say study 50 minutes with five-minute breaks.  Still others suggest skipping breaks altogether by switching topics.  Do whatever works.

For yet another time management trick, dedicate five minutes to studies, just to get started.  You’ll often end up doing much more.

I dedicate not five minutes, but hours, to fitness.  And I’ll always justify trips to the gym to kickstart studies.  Exercise rewards you for procrastination.

When I TA’d, my students wanted proof that exercise benefited studies.  So, I slapped on my desk stacks of articles supporting my claims.  A student snatched several articles, looking them over, as the class watched silently.  To my delight, more of my students slowly trickled onto treadmills—less stressed, a little smarter, better able to solve problems.

PhD Seth J. Gillihan shows you how to overcome procrastination in his book Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry:

  • But first, what causes procrastination? “Fear that [the task] will be unpleasant ….  The more we imagine these negative aspects, the less incentive we have to get started” (Location 1685, 652%).
  • Fear of failure leads to procrastination, too: “Fear of not doing a good job. We rarely know for sure how something we work on will turn out, and that uncertainty can give rise to fear of doing it badly” (location 1685, 52%).
  • Putting tasks off worsens procrastination: “Sometimes we tell ourselves we deserve a break of convince ourselves we’ll work better at some point in the future. In one way or another we justify our procrastination” (location 1685, 52%).  “Every time we put off a task we think will be unpleasant, we experience a feeling of relief” (location 1696, 52%).
  • The solutions to procrastination? For one, “Beware things we tell ourselves to justify procrastination, or that downplay the amount of time we’ll actually spend doing something other than the target task” (location 1719, 53%).
  • For another, “Remind yourself why you don’t want to procrastinate. Putting things off not only can lead to being late or producing poor quality work, but colors our leisure time with feelings of dread and guilt” (location 1732, 53%).
  • And don’t clean dishes to distract from tasks: “Beware of ‘virtuous avoidance.’ When we’re motivated to avoid a task, we might find other ways to make ourselves feel productive” (location 1732, 53%).
  • It’s normal to tackle tasks willy-nilly: “We often delay doing something because we’re not sure exactly how to do it …. Remind yourself that you’ll find a way once you resolve to get started” (location 1732, 53%).
  • Do it now, not later: “Acknowledge that you probably won’t feel like doing it later, either” (location 1732, 53%).

Gillihan’s book said, to be busier, hang around busy people.  Another book said, to be happier, hang around happy people.  And my boyfriend says to be fitter, hang around fit people.  And to get top grades, hang around students who study nonstop.

%d bloggers like this: