Helpful Homework Hacks for Master Procrastinators
Ambrosia Woliver: Blog Post 1 O.F.
25 September, 2019
Most of us have been back in school for at least a month by now and all the excitement has been drained from our very souls. Readings, papers, lab work, and many other assignment types are piling up before us and we feel as if the heap just keeps getting higher. This feeling can be extremely overwhelming which often leads to procrastination: not just once but over and over and over again. And then we procrastinate on fixing our procrastination. I’m here to tell you that nipping your delaying habits in the bud right now is the only way to save your GPA. Take it from someone who’s been here before and even failed an easy course because I let the anxiety take over. From integrating your distractions into your work – to making yourself stay in a place where your distractions cannot be used, these simple tips can guide you right down the road to success!
If Music is Your Distraction, You Don’t Have to Give it Up!
Listening to music is one of my most favorite leisure activities. In fact, I often get a little carried away when indulging in the newest Bastille album. It starts with one song: I tell myself, “Okay, I’ll listen to this one and then I’ll get to work”, and before I know it, I’ve spent two hours on YouTube and I’m not even close to what I started with. If this is you, don’t fret – there is light (coming from the music video your fav artist just released) at the end of the tunnel! College classes and AP high school classes require a lot of readings. I don’t mean five pages from Romeo and Juliet that, God forbid, gets in the way of your Fortnite playtime. I mean 30-80 pages that must be read before every class. It’s super easy to put this off, but there is one simple solution that works every time. Open up your textbook to the chapter you’ve been assigned and mark the top of every two pages with the name of a song you feel like listening to today. Don’t make it a 20-minute video about a Forever21 haul, but a simple 3-5 minute song! This also works for essays and math problems. Write out songs you want to hear on a sticky note then begin the work. After about five equations or a paragraph, reward yourself with a song! When attempting this trick, you can’t let yourself fall into the black hole that is YouTube. Watch your video, let it fill your empty, tired soul, and get back to work.
Truth is: you have to suck it up and do it, but it doesn’t have to be boring!
Stranger Things is Calling Your Name? Follow the Shadow Monster!
If stopping your workflow every 15-20 minutes isn’t working for you and you’d like to work a little longer, this one’s for you. When doing any homework/studying, you can only go so long before you need a break. Depending on your time crunch, this one will suit your Netflix-Binging desires. For some, working nonstop for an hour or more is adrenaline-inducing, but when they get bored and aren’t finished, what do they do? Procrastinate. Something I highly recommend is to schedule in your most efficient amount of work time, do it and watch an episode of your choice once you’ve reached your goal. Whether that be 20 minutes or 40, you just spent one or more hours working like a boss. You deserve it!
Remember: don’t expect to work for three consecutive hours without getting distracted by something. As a pro-procrastinator you know by now that doing this never worked before when you were behind and it won’t work for you now. Also, JUST ONE EPISODE!
This All Sounds Super Helpful, but I’m Three Weeks Behind on Work!
So, here’s the dealio. We’ve all been three weeks or more behind before and some of us got back on our feet and crushed the course, while others crashed and burned. Out of those two options, you’ve got to choose now. Don’t attempt to catch up on that much reading unless you know for a fact you can do it in time because if not, you will give up. Now, you don’t have to give up your favorite time-wasters yet, but you don’t get as many breaks as everyone else. Sorry, :/. In this situation, you must start where your class currently is and once that is finished, work backward. Don’t focus too hard on knowing what you missed weeks ago when you have tons right in front of you. If you make your most pressing assignments your number one priority, you’ll at least have a shot at bringing up your grade from there. But, if knowing what you are behind on is essential to passing or even understanding, work backward. This process requires more work than breaking. I’m talking sacrificing weekends, sleep, social events, exercise, and extracurriculars. I would recommend getting through a few hours of school work and then rewarding yourself. Now don’t pull all-nighters, but six hours of sleep will suffice in this time of desperation. Also, your academics are way more important than extracurriculars, so if you have to take a break, by all means, do it! At the end of the day, your success depends on what you put into it, so don’t blame the professor or anyone else when you aren’t doing well. Sit down and grind!
Stop Scrolling Your Phone for Hours on End
One of the biggest issues of today’s youth is social media addiction. Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram have everyone hooked. These platforms have found ways to show you all of your favorite things, and you just can’t get enough! Well, you’ve had enough. If you’re deep into the pits of satisfying Snapchat videos, it’s time to exit the app and delete it. I’m not showing mercy on this one. I wish I could tell you that you can work for a bit and then scroll for a bit, but I can guarantee you that it will not work. You’ll just end up scrolling and before you know it, you’re 25 and still a sophomore in college. What I would suggest though, is to slowly wean yourself off of your favorite media platform by timing yourself. For example, if you tend to spend three hours a day on Instagram, lower that by 30 minutes every day until you’re barely checking the app. Finally, delete it from your phone. I’m not asking you to remove your account, but deleting the app itself will help you out. Reward yourself by only using social media during breaks, ex: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring break. This one will be tough, but social media is the meth of addicting distractions meaning it’s extremely hard to stop. You can do this!!
I Tell Myself I’ll do it But Instead I Take Naps
Boy, have I been here. You come in from class and thinking you’ll get right to work, but then you tell yourself, “I’ll take a short nap and get to work right after”. That turns into a 3-hour nap and bam, you have no time to do anything. In these situations, you have to prevail. Push through even though you are tired and if you must nap, wait until you’ve finished all of your work in at least one subject if not two. This also means you must get enough sleep at night. When the clock tells you that your class starts in seven hours, go to bed and get six. If you don’t you’ll always depend on naps and the cycle never ends.
I know these may seem hard, but if you want that degree you have to fight for it. Schoolwork is meant to challenge us and make us think. If you have struggles that means you are learning, but don’t give up at the first sight of confusion. Use these hacks. Enjoy your life while building your life.