College: 5 Tips for Reducing Procrastionation and Getting Stuff Done

In an attempt to organize my life and make sure I'm staying on top of things for once, I've started a new routine. It seems to be working so far, though we'll see if I can stick with it as the year goes on.

1. Move to a different area 
I'm used to doing my homework sitting in bed or on the couch, but I find doing work in a place where I would normally relax makes it difficult for me to concentrate. So I cleaned off and organized my desk and set up shop there. It helps to put me into a focusing mindset and cut down on distractions. For especially long study sessions, a trip to the library can be big for motivation.

2. Turn off the Internet 
Shut down any open tabs that aren't related to your homework. It'll keep you from being tempted to click over to Facebook or Tumblr "just for a few minutes." If you give yourself short breaks, don't use websites that are known time sucks. I tried to use Tumblr for homework breaks, but I would give myself five minutes and take half an hour.

3. Minimize distractions
Close the door, put your phone on silent, tell your friends that you need some study time, put in earplugs, whatever it takes. My friends know that if my door is closed that I'm working and not to disturb me unless it's for something specific. I also find putting in headphones without music playing can help, but I prefer quiet rock or instrumental music.

4. Make a "to do" list 
Every day, make a list of the things that you need to accomplish and then check them off. Break large projects into smaller steps and do a little work at a time. Quantifiable goals (read X chapter, complete Y assignment, find Z sources for a research project) are better than vague ones (do research, work on term paper, start powerpoint presentation). Check syllabi regularly and keep a calendar with due dates on it. Designate days for regular tasks. For instance, Tuesday is my laundry day and Saturday is my "work that isn't homework" day.

5. Use rewards
Find a reward that works for you. It can be something small for each task completed or something large for when you finish off your list. For instance, if I finish my list for a day then I can spend the rest of the day watching my current TV show (which, right now, is Heroes).


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