It’s Officially Midterm Season, Time to Get Your Act Together

By Courtesy of Company Pictures

I don’t know about you, but I put the “pro” in procrastination — and if you’re currently reading this article, chances are you probably do too. If no number of therapy sessions or New York Times bestseller self-help and productivity books can help you curb your procrastination, this article definitely will.

Reward yourself

Work just gives us nothing but stress and bad vibes, so you might as well treat yourself so you can get through the pain. Tell yourself that once you’ve done your work for a certain amount of time, you will reward yourself with something like a snack, or 10 minutes on Instagram, or one YouTube video. At least you’ll have something to look forward to at the end! Try giving the Pomodoro method a shot as well.

Break it down

Instead of trying to tackle a whole task at once, try breaking it down into smaller pieces. Rather than thinking “I’ve got to finish this whole essay in five hours tonight or I am a failure,” instead try “I’ll do the introduction today, the body tomorrow, and the conclusion the next day.” Set yourself a schedule that is flexible and allows you to spread the work over multiple days, instead of cramming it into one night. This makes the task less daunting and scary, and you’ll feel less inclined to put it off.

Just Do It

Force yourself to work on the task you’re avoiding for at least 5-10 minutes and you’ll find yourself getting immersed in the work. If you don’t want to write an essay, just make yourself sit at your desk and type something for 10 minutes – eventually you’ll get in the groove of writing, and 10 minutes turns into more. Try this method out with a friend for some accountability. Maybe while you focus on writing, they can start on the pset they’ve been avoiding.

Minimize Distractions

Most of the time, when we procrastinate we immediately jump onto Instagram or YouTube and waste away some good pset-grinding hours. Try going cold turkey and turn off your phone while you work so that you can’t use it as an escape from working. Work in an environment that will help you stay focused and has minimal distractions, such as a library or other designated study spaces.

I know it’s so hard to find the motivation to just sit down and get things done right away – it’s way more tempting to just write your name and the date on a paper and call it a day, neglecting the other 10 pages you have to write. As much as the adrenaline rush we get from submitting assignments two minutes before the deadline makes us feel like daredevils, it’s always better to start doing your work sooner than later – your future self will thank you for it! With these tips and enough motivation you can stop procrastinating now… or maybe later.

Flyby BlogFlyby Front FeatureFlyby FrontHow to Harvard

Harvard Today

The latest in your inbox.

Sign Up

Follow Flyby online.