Is this you:
- You have an essay deadline looming
- A mountain of exam revision to do
- Deadlines to apply for placements / graduate job / PG course (delete as appropriate)
Yet you find yourself making endless cups of tea, which leads to a quick visit to the shop to get more milk followed by a 5 minute nosey on Facebook where you start looking at cute cat videos your mate shared and next thing you know you've nodded off and the list above is untouched.
Hello Procrastination, my friend.
pro-cras-ti-na-tion |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
the action of delaying or postponing something: your first tip is to avoid procrastination.
Who would have thought the dictionary held the solution all along. Avoid procrastination. So elegant in its simplicity.
This piece from the Huffington Post provides a beautiful explanation about why procrastinators procrastinate. Really worth a read. At the very least, do get acquainted with the gratification monkey.
But why is this relevant I hear you ask? Well, we have seen so many of you lately - stressed and telling us it is just easy to bury your heads in the sand. Whether it is mounting course work, revision or deadlines for job applications - procrastination is the perfect ingredient to induce anxiety. And before you know it, you'll find yourself locked in the cycle of worrying and not doing.
So here are some tips to cut through procrastination:
- Control your web browsing - OK, this is going to be really hard but stay with me. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, YikYak etc. Reward yourself with social media time when you tick something off your to-do list.
- Ask someone to check up on you - dare I suggest your mum for this task? Joking aside, peer pressure works! This is the principle behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
- Worse case scenario - identify and write down on a post-it the unpleasant consequences of not doing what you need to do.
- You can't eat an elephant whole - that old saying... break down revision or course work into smaller chunks (and reward yourself with cake every time to accomplish one of those tasks).
- Change your environment - if there are lots of distractions at home then go to the library or vice versa.
- Hang out with do-ers - identify people/friends/colleagues who are are driven and doing stuff. Some of their energy is bound to rub off and inspire you.
- Prioritise - this time of the year there are going to be lots of competing demands on your time. Identify what is important and focus on these first.
- Accept imperfection - no one is perfect! You are only human and are bound to make mistakes now and again. Failure and being imperfect can be so intimidating it can cripple your capability to function properly. You must remember that perfection is neither possible nor necessary.
Finally and most importantly be patient! Habits are hard to change but little steps do make a difference. One of the ways we can support you in the careers service is by talking through actions that will help with your career planning. Feel free to book a 15-minute quick query sometime.