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7 ways to quit procrastinating and make the most of your break

23 September 2016
We asked our students and an expert for their tips on beating the procrastination blues

We're all so busy that holidays can often fly past without feeling like a break at all. By using your time effectively, you can knock-off your responsibilities and still have time for some much-needed relaxation. 

1. Switch up your tasks

“If I want a distraction from an assignment, then I’ll avoid it by doing different uni work – that way at least my brain is still switched on. Then, after a set amount of time I’ll go back to the assignment”.

– Emily Serifovski, fourth year Bachelor of Commerce/ Bachelor of Arts

2. Get the blood flowing

“Exercise...earphones in, kicks on, and run! Especially before starting a large assignment or preparing for an important exam.”

– Denise Ong, fourth year Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology)

3. A little guilt goes a long way

 “I try to study in places where I’ll feel guilty if someone sees me on Facebook for half an hour, like the library or at my kitchen table.”

– Liam Douglas, second year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

4. Think about why you’re procrastinating

“Students have a range of avoidance strategies, particularly distraction and even room tidying! For some students, part of procrastination is perfectionistic tendencies, and part of avoiding the assignment is self-sabotage. Basically this means that if you put it off until the last minute, you have the excuse that it isn’t very good because you didn’t spend much time doing it.”

– Dr Susan Colmar, educational psychologist and Program Director of School Counselling/School Psychology MTeach

5. Set deadlines

“I set myself an overload of tasks to complete in one day. It makes me realise that I can’t afford to procrastinate, so my body just gets into panic mode earlier than it would otherwise… but a softer level of panic!”

–  Zarif Aziz, second year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce 

6. Reward yourself

“I try to beat procrastination by incentivisation (can you tell I started uni as an economics student?). That could look like setting aside certain albums that I only listen to while I’m doing a certain task. It means that if I want to listen to those albums, I have to do whatever I’m putting off – plus it creates positive associations with doing those tasks.”

– Salina Alvaro, second year Bachelor of Arts

7. Listen to the experts

“Obvious strategies to overcome procrastination include starting by writing one sentence, planning and realistic goal setting, working hard for set time periods, then rewarding yourself for real work achieved, such as 500 words written. It’s also helpful to seek academic help early, and acknowledge your own genuine capability to achieve the task.”

– Dr Susan Colmar, educational psychologist and Program Director of School Counselling/School Psychology MTeach

The Learning Centre has resources and workshops to help you stay on top of your study, including a workshop on procrastination and managing time. Check out their program for September and October.