Children… Teenagers… Parents...
Me too. sometimes.
Surprised? Don't be!
So, understand that you're not alone. However, that doesn't mean it’s a good practice. Believe me, it’s not!
Procrastination is an enemy of success. It is a thief of time. You wouldn't want one minute of pleasure to steal an hour or two to add value to yourself, would you?
I guess not!
So, I understand why you're reading this and I know you're ready to take a leap of faith to get rid of this thief of time. In this post, I'll show you the actionable steps I take to beat procrastination while studying. I believe it will help you too.
1. Set up your study environment
Let's say you're planning to study in the sitting room, and then you remember that your favorite show will start in 10 minutes. And you're like, “The show is just for 30 minutes, it won't hurt if I watch for a little time”
You feel you have all the time in the world to still study. And then, you sit and start watching, before you know it, you watch till you doze off. Guess what? No more studies, then you postpone till the next day.
Or maybe, you're in your bedroom, you sit for a while and keep staring at your bed. Then, sleep comes and you dive comfortably on it.
This is to tell you that your environment matters when you study. You need to get rid of anything that'll make you think twice about doing the task at hand. If staying in the sitting room or bedroom will prevent you from studying effectively, please leave and find a place suitable that can help you stay focused. A serene and quiet environment will help you focus more and study effectively.
So, sit properly and face your book.
2. Ask your “WHY” question
Most times, it's important to understand the reason for something so that it can help you when you feel less motivated or in cases where procrastination wants to set in.
Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this” Why would I want to study maths at this time”
Understand the reason why you want to do it.
For example, your reason might be “I want to study maths so that I will be the best in Mathematics in my class”
“I want to study hard so that I'll be recognized as the best English student”
“ I want to study so that I’ll graduate with the best grades in high school”
“I want to pass with distinctions in all my subjects”
In cases where you aren't doing well in a subject, your reason can be “I want to study so that I can improve in statistics this term”
Whatever it is, know your “WHY”. Your reason for studying will motivate you and help you get rid of procrastination.
Once you're aware of your reason, don't think and leave it. Write it down!
Look at it whenever you want to study and say it loud to yourself before you proceed.
Also, in case you're procrastinating already, for example, you're watching a youtube video. Ask yourself, “ Why am I watching this YouTube video? Is it going to help me attain my study goal?”
When you ask and your answer is No (which will be, most times) Leave it and study!
3. Set targets and Reward yourself
To study effectively and stop procrastinating, you have to set targets.
What's your target? What are you trying to achieve and when would you want to achieve it?
Make it specific. Remember to do it the SMART(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) way.
Don’t say, "I will read my statistics book this week" - that's vague and unrealistic
Rather say, “I will read from pages 1-10 of my statistics book this week”
Set your deadline and stay committed to it. When you achieve it, reward yourself. You can reward yourself with watching YouTube videos for an hour, playing video games, or watching your favorite show or movie series. Whatever gives your body so much pleasure, do it as a reward. You deserve it.
4) Get rid of distractions
Okay, this one sounds a bit familiar to the first one. But, I'll be very specific here.
Getting rid of distractions means removing or staying away from anything that'll prevent you from studying at that particular time.
Be it your phone, television, bed, Video games, iPads, or even your thoughts! Yes, your thoughts can distract you too. You don't have to pluck your brain from your head to stop it from distracting you.
Just don't fantasize or start thinking about random things. The only thing you're permitted to think or visualize at that moment is your book.
If leaving your phone switched on would distract you, you can put it on airplane mode for the time you've set to study. Switch off your television sets, leave your bedroom if your bed keeps screaming for you to lie on it.
Remove or stay away from all distractions and focus on studying.
5) Break down your study goals into small chunks
Don't overwhelm yourself with a huge study goal. Break it down into small actionable study goals.
If you don't, you will see it as a huge one and delay starting which will lead to procrastination.
Let's look at an example
You have a goal to study your maths textbook for 1 month.
Then, you write “I’ll study my maths textbook 3 hours daily for 1 month”
Before now, you've never studied for 1 hour. Here you are already aiming for 3 hours.
Don't quote wrong, I didn't say it's not good to aim high or challenge yourself. It's absolutely okay to do that. But to accomplish your task and stop procrastinating, you have to break it down. You can start from 1 hour and climb to 1:30 minutes and keep climbing till you get to 3 hours.
The same goes for aiming to study a book and finish it in 3 days. You can start with studying and finishing a chapter and keep climbing higher.
When you set huge a study goal without breaking it down, you will either get tired easily when you start or you don't even start at all. Then, the greatest opponent of success(procrastination) sets in.
Don't be like that. Set your study goals and break them down into small chunks.
6) Remove the perfectionist mindset
A perfectionist always wants to make sure everything he or she does is perfect. When you cultivate a perfectionist’s mindset, you will either start and not finish or you won't even start at all.
Most perfectionists are very good at procrastinating. When you want to study, don't be like a perfectionist. You might want to do all and end up doing nothing.
Start first, then focus and stay committed to your studies till you hit your target.
You'll thank yourself for doing this.
7) Use the Pomodoro technique
Ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? It's a technique where you set 25 minutes to perform a task with a 5 minutes break in between. It helps you to stay focused without distractions.
I use the Pomodoro technique and it has helped me a lot. I call it “my procrastination remover”. Sounds funny right? I guess so.
Using this technique, you can set out 25 minutes for a focused study and have a 5-minute break after each study section. After 4 Pomodoros, you'll have a long break of 1 hour to yourself. And then, continue.
This technique will help you stay focused and reduce the chances of procrastination creeping in and conquering you.
Here’s what you can do to beat procrastination $ Concentrate while studying:
Set up your study environment
Ask your “WHY” questions
Set a target and reward yourself
Get rid of distractions
Break down your study goal into small chunks
Remove the perfectionist mindset
Use the Pomodoro technique
Remember that this would not be an easy ride. With focus, determination, and commitment, you can beat this!
You can do it. I’m rooting for you!