Not to make a generalization about all college students, but we are truly masters of procrastination. Constantly putting things off to get other things done (whether they are academic tasks or just sneaking in another episode on Netflix). Preventing procrastination is easier than you would think. Tamara Powell, professor of Communication Studies at University of California: San Diego, has some great advice in her article, ‘The Secrets to Staying Productive When You Have a Big Project’. By utilizing her two well-tested techniques, you’re sure to keep on schedule and avoid the stress of last minute tasks.
The first method is known as the “Pomodoro Technique”, which focuses on breaking down a task into smaller chunks. This method is ideal for people who like a break every now and then for distractions. The technique can be broken down into 5 steps:
1. Select a task to work on for 25 minutes.
2. Set a timer.
3. Exclusively work on the task until the timer rings (no cheating!).
4. Give yourself a 5 minute break.
5. Repeat the cycle 4 times and then reward yourself with a 15-minute break.
Knowing you get breaks throughout the work time really helps you fully focus during the 25 minute sections. Better yet- You can download the PomodoroPro app for your iPhone through the App Store.
The second technique outlined in Powell’s article is the “Getting Things Done Method”. This system is all about getting organized so you have a better prospective on what you need to get done and when. Powell gives some great pointers on how to get this process started:
First off, get rid of all the random Post-its around your room and write everything in one, central location. This includes all assignments, appointments, social events, and work schedules. Then look at everything going on in the next few days and take care of any tasks that could be accomplished in less than two minutes. There’s no need to put those small tasks off until the last minute.
Next, break down the bigger tasks into smaller, more reasonable sections. Block out times in your calendar that you can complete these smaller task sections, and make sure you aren’t putting them off until right before the due date.
With such busy schedules, procrastination is sometimes inevitable. But having a solid game-plan for getting things done will hopefully help eliminate stress. To learn more, click the link to and read more of Powell’s recommendations.