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Productivity talk: how to overcome procrastination

Are you as productive as you could be when it comes to your studies? Not all of us are blessed with the ability of being in a constant productivity cycle where all you do is following systematically each and every task in your to-do list. For example, most youngsters often find studying stressful and tiring, which plays a big role in procrastination and productivity levels. That is completely normal, no one is born a genius multitasker – however, you should be honest with yourself. Are you slacking off because of other duties or are you consciously choosing entertainment and relaxation until the deadlines start kicking you in the butt?

Let’s make 2021 easier regarding this matter.

1. Sort out why you are procrastinating/unproductive.

So, here you are, just a normal university student in the academic jungle, trying to make the most out of your student life. Your courses are hard, but you are still pushing forward. You have friends who are experiencing the same amount of pressure from all the papers and exams, however, you are always behind deadlines – and they are doing just fine. Why is that? Are you getting sucked by the social media whirlpool from opening your eyes in the morning till late night? Or maybe you’re heavily demotivated and you’re preferring escapism like reading fiction and listening to music? No matter the case, you have to find out the real problem. Demotivation, laziness, fear and much more might be the root of your procrastination issue. Once you can answer the question “Why?”, you can find an appropriate solution.

2. What is your goal?

Be honest with yourself – are you striving for excellent marks, or you just want to pass the next exam? Ask the reason behind the answer.

“I want excellent marks because I know I am smart and capable enough and I want to gain the knowledge offered.”

is much more motivating than

“I want to pass because I am afraid of failure/failing my parents.”

These small details in reasoning are what drive you forward. If your driving force lies on a negative motivator (like fear), you are much more likely to procrastinate and fail. When you have a good motivational force you are being pushed towards success and you’d find it way easier to sit down and focus on what you have to do, in this case, study.

3. Take a break from social media

If the biggest reason behind your procrastination tendencies is social media, then do a detox. An 8-hour screen time average is quite alarming and points out directly to the issue. A social media detox is basically not opening the apps, even getting rid of them, if you have to, for a certain period of time. Several days, a week, or more – it is all up to you, but trust us, it is sometimes worth letting your brain rest from the overstimulation the media offers lately.

4. Take enough rest in the relevant time for that

So you finally sit down and start studying, but soon enough you realize you’re completely drained, sleepy and potentially little to nothing of the information that you have absorbed has stuck with you. And here it comes, you’re even more annoyed by yourself and the whole studying process. Well, if you’ve had like 6 hours of sleep last night, thinking that “it’s totally sufficient”, then the problem is obvious. You’re way too tired to even concentrate – the lack of just 1 or 2 hours of extra sleep can transform you into a real-life zombie.

“But I sleep 10 hours a night, it can’t be!”

But when? Studies point out that going to bed too late can cripple your sleeping process even more, and even if you’ve had 8+ hours last night, they might not be sufficient as you haven’t slept at the relevant time for that. You wake up just as tired, unable to focus. Going to bed earlier instead of 02:30 can significantly improve your ability to stay concentrated.

5. Have a clear task list

Disorganization can be a significant contributor to your unproductivity. You might feel like you don’t know where to start, or you cannot understand the pattern best for studying for the given subject – and so you never start. That’s when task lists become incredibly important and useful. Having an outline or a plan is like 10% of the work. Once you know what must be done, you’d be way more confident about studying. Same goes to all projects and essays – following major points and essential tasks just makes everything better and smoother.

6. Give yourself a reward

From your favourite coffee drink or tea, to a shirt you’ve been wanting for the past few months or a short Szentendre trip, a reward always feels like a pat on the shoulder. Show yourself that you deserve being happy and having some treats if you act responsibly and manage your study matters on time. After all, life is not just about following the next goal – but of having the pleasure to reach it and, maybe from time to time, get a reward for the hard work you’ve done.

Being productive after months of quarantine and online education is tough. Be kind to yourself, set stable, reachable goals and don’t forget to have a healthy amount of rest.

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  - Emily Brontë


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