Right about this time of the semester is always when I start to feel the pressure kick in. All of my classes are past the halfway point and midterms are over, but there’s still enough time left to royally ruin my grade in a difficult class. On top of that, there’s the all too powerful temptation to leave my problems to future Matt. Sure, he won’t be very happy with me when all that work needs to be done last minute, but that’s his problem!
To be serious, as easy as it is to procrastinate, it really is a terrible idea. For one, the stress caused by putting off assignments and studying until the last minute can wreak havoc on both you and those around you. On top of that, putting off work usually leads to a late night (or maybe early morning), which means sleep deprivation on top of it all. None of this sounds all that fun, so why subject yourself to it? If I’m going to be up really late, it’s going to be by choice and I better be having fun!
Here are a few tips to keep on top of your schedule so you don’t get yourself in trouble.
Write down your assignments and their due dates somewhere. Don’t leave it up to your memory to take care of getting those assignments done. You might think you never forget anything, but you don’t want that first thing forgotten to be major. Whether you have a planner that you write everything down in, an online calendar like Google Calendar, or even a to do list you make every so often, it will help you get everything done.
Plan to have an assignment done with at least one day to spare. While ideally more time is better, you should try to give yourself at least an extra day to take a break from staring at your essay, project, or for that matter, study materials. When you come back to it after taking a little breather, you accomplish two things: one, you have a fresh set of eyes so you might notice things you were formerly overlooking, and two (if you are studying), you will be confirming what you have remembered and what you have already forgotten, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses.
If you feel clueless, get help. Everyone gets lost every now and then, so if you do, do yourself a favor and meet with your teacher, head to the CLR, or get in touch with a student tutor. Any of the above can be very rewarding, and can prevent you falling further behind in a class, or just clear up a few fuzzy concepts.
Practice good time management. If you know you’re going to want to go out, play video games, watch your favorite TV show, or anything else at a specific time and date, that’s fine, but be sure to plan accordingly! If you just throw in a half hour of work prior to messing around for an hour, you can at least get some basic work done, and set yourself up to get more done the next time you work on it.
While I know I could go on and on with more tips on how to keep your work in order, I think you all get the point. To paraphrase a quote from Mr. Mackey in one of my favorite TV shows, South Park, “Kids, don’t procrastinate, ‘cause procrastination is bad, mm’kay?”