5 Ways to Avoid Procrastination (Issue 2, Lifestyle)

by Selma O’Malley (’22)

One of the most common experiences of any high schooler is that one has some long term assignment that has a deadline a ways away. Plenty of time, right? Wrong! Many students find themselves doing entire projects or essays in one night, because they forget, tell themselves that they have time to do it later, or just avoid it for as long as possible. We are busy people, we have sports, clubs, meetings, and homework all across our classes. 86% of students are sleep deprived, partly because we’re up so late, doing homework we both didn’t have time to do earlier and tasks that we put off until the last minute. So how do we avoid this common occurrence? How can we break this habit? Here are 6 ways you can avoid the stress and pressure that procrastinating on assignments brings us.

  1. Leave electronics out of your room.

Let’s face it, phones are distracting! With your phone in your field of vision every time you sit down to work, it’s hard to not give in to the attraction of this little box of dopamine. Everytime you lose focus, whether you checked your Snaps or browsed through your Instagram feed for a few minutes, it takes a while to get back into your studying groove! In fact, studies by the Harvard Business Review and University of Chicago found that people that took a cognitive test with their phone in the room, even with it on silent, performed significantly worse than people that took the same exam without the presence of a phone. So, try to keep your phone out of the room when you work. Also, avoid watching TV or listening to music while you are finishing homework. If you really insist on music, try avoiding lyrical songs and instead tune into instrumental music or white noise.

2. Try to make a schedule.

Creating blocks of work time should help you be as efficient as possible, especially if you actually stick to it! The best way to schedule yourself is to create blocks of studying and doing homework about 10-30 minutes, followed by a break or reward for 5-10 minutes. This is an efficient way to stay focused and not over work yourself! 

3. Take breaks and reward yourself.

A little more motivation to do your homework, other than not getting a 0/5 in Schoology, can be promising yourself a break or reward after you finish. You could promise yourself 15 minutes of Netflix after you finish your math homework, or a snack after you finished that body paragraph. Having a reward as an end goal will push you to complete your task. Just make sure you get back to work!

4. Start your homework ASAP!

One of the biggest issues when doing homework is that procrastinators, like me, wait until the last possible minute to do things, because we know they can be accomplished even when we procrastinate! One of the best ways to solve this is to force yourself to do your homework. Get yourself to sit down and do the task. If you need to, put anything that could distract you out of the space you’re working out of it. You can even ask a friend or sibling to make sure you don’t pick up your phone until after you finish something! 

5. Do the hard tasks first.

Just get it out of the way! If you’re really procrastinating an essay because you really don’t want to write it, have that be the first task you do. Don’t put it off any longer- the more you wait, the more stressed about it you’ll be. 

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