A Guide to Overcoming Procrastination | Daniel Boland

‘Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.’ —Author Unknown


It is coming up to that time of year again where all of the assignments you have put off have suddenly become a reality with a nearby deadline. The last thing that you should be doing is checking Facebook every few minutes or going to get a coffee for a distraction. Here is a list of procrastination busting tools to help focus a wandering mind and get those assignments out of the way.

A simple and effective way in overcoming procrastination is to make a to-do list. There isn’t much involved with a to-do list; all that is needed is paper and a logical sequence for what needs to be done. Larger tasks should be broken down and if the list has many tasks the high priority duties should be noted. For the more tech savvy student, there are a number of great to-do list apps online. The most effective application I have found is Wunderlist. This task manager integrates email usage, uses a drag-and-drop feature to arrange high priority tasks and, most importantly, features portability. Wunderlist works with the iPhone and most Android phones, making it possible to keep on track with what needs to be done.

The internet holds a wealth of knowledge. Except for when you would rather look at pictures of funny cats instead of doing an assignment. It is at this point that the internet seems like the bane of your life when trying to get work done. Each time you sit down to be productive, the eccentricity of the world wide web sucks you in and before you know it an hour or two has passed. Google has heard the concerns of many students trying to avoid procrastination and created an application in the form of StayFocusd. The application aims to repel procrastination by limiting the amount of time you can stay on a certain website. The user enters the websites they want to block and set an allotted time for how long they can spend on the unproductive websites. Once this allotted time has been used the website in question cannot be accessed for the rest of the day resulting in less distraction.

Trying to get an assignment done by a certain deadline is stressful for even the most focused mind. Avoiding procrastination is not just about getting work done but also about focusing by ensuring the body and mind are in good condition. Eating healthily and exercising are vitally important when undergoing periods of stress such as an assignment, and resting in between tasks allows the brain to reassess what needs to be done. Preparing for an assignment can lower the chances of procrastination; getting eight hours sleep and having a tidy room will set you off on the right foot when tackling a heavy workload.

Procrastination is the enemy of students who need to get an assignment done, but many succumb to the endless entertainment of everything around them. Stay healthy, assess what needs to be done and, of course, block the websites that are causing the distractions or even unplug the internet if it is not needed. If all else fails, put up a motivational poster and tie yourself to the desk until the assignment is finished.