4 Ways College and High School Students Can Avoid Procrastinating During Finals

laptopFinals week on campus means students start doing really strange things–sleeping in library cubicles, drinking copious amounts of terrible tasting energy drinks, and procrastinating with things they would’ve never thought twice about before final season hit, like say, generously offering up 3 hours of your time to organize a friend of a friend’s Star Wars action figure collection.

Look, it happens to the best of us.  And we know from experience that procrastination is your worst enemy when it comes to finals. So here are some tips to help keep you from procrastinating so you can stay on top of your studying:

1. Make a list and create a schedule
Finals is the most annoying time of the school year because everybody and their mom is citing off all the insane workloads they have to do in a rapidly approaching deadline.  It’s like a campus-wide game of one-upping:

“I’ve got three 7-pagers and 14 short stories I have to write in the next hour.”

“Oh that’s funny, because I have to somehow get in an interview with the leader of the free world, edit the footage, and produce the greatest social commentary of our generation in the next 5 minutes.”

Instead of just blabbing your list of to-do’s off to anybody who’ll listen, actually write it down. Taking the time to write out your list will help you visualize the amount of work you have. Estimating how much time each task will take will help you distribute your time more effectively.

2. Start with the thing you fear the most
We know you’re not looking forward to the 25 page research paper on how disease is portrayed in 20th century opera–or maybe you are–either way, whatever the assignment is that you have the most anxiety about, that’s the one you should get done first.  It’s kinda like a nightmare–you get it over with by the time you wake up, and then you’re off to conquer the day! If you avoid the work you fear the most until the end, chances are you won’t have the time or the energy to fully complete it….let alone get the grade you were hoping for.

3. Get off Facebook
Do it. Deactivate your account.  We all know the real culprit behind this nationwide college procrastination! Why would you want to spend 4 hours studying biochem when you could spend 2 of those hours learning about your ex-boyfriend’s camping trip and the other 2 about his new girlfriend. We love our social networking addiction as much as the next guy, but it’s definitely a roadblock when it comes to studying.  Plus, you can always reactivate your account as soon as the last final is over.

4. Treat yourself
At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs who can be conditioned to do just about anything as long as there’s a yummy treat waiting at the end. Motivate yourself with something you know you’ll forward to, like ice cream, 30 minutes of your favorite television show, or a nail polish change. Little pick-me-ups through your long study days will give you the breaks you need and keep you from procrastinating.

Do you have any other tips? Comment and share!

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  1. Miriam says:

    For those of us whose long term concentration skills are worse than terrible, using a timer is the key to success. I like to start with 40 minutes of straight studying, with 10 minute or less breaks, then either keep that up until the work is done or switch to 30/10 for a few hours. Of course, if you’re like me, eventually breaking down to 20/10 will still help, so long as you keep yourself exactly within 20 min and your break exactly within 10 min or less. Thinking that studying is only going to be for a little while also helps me to get started in the first place.

  2. Jillian says:

    Love these tips! They really do help. The best thing you can do is just start early! And scheduling really helps… including scheduling breaks for yourself!

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