How To Use Procrastination To Your Advantage
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How To Use Procrastination To Your Advantage

Zoe Kramer December 25, 2022

Have you ever left an assignment until the last minute, relying on the motivation of the ticking clock to haphazardly scramble it together? If you have, you’re a part of the majority. Procrastination in one form or another is a reality for most students. Most of the time, we think ‘I shouldn’t have procrastinated on this. I’ll give myself more time on the next one,’ only to find ourselves in the exact same situation when the next deadline comes around. But what if procrastination wasn’t actually the problem?

Choose when and how you procrastinate

We spend a lot of time fighting our urge to procrastinate. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it’s more of an uphill battle. When studying gets overwhelming, instead of trying to use willpower to stop yourself from procrastinating, try choosing a task to procrastinate on instead. It can be especially helpful if you choose a low-value task to procrastinate on. For example, you might push a small weekly assignment back to better allow yourself to do some of the more important things you need to do.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

See also: How To Best Organise Your Time For Studying

Make a plan

Procrastination doesn’t have to be aimless — it can actually fit into a structure. When the amount of things you have to do feels overwhelming, write everything down into a checklist. If you have a big task to work on such as a big essay, before you think about the task itself, start by planning out how you’re going to do it. Are you going to start with research or with an outline? Are you going to build around the details or look at the big picture? Each of these steps can go on your list.

The power of productive procrastination

Now that you’ve got your list, most likely some tasks seem more doable than others. You can take advantage of this by pushing back the less desirable tasks as you complete the friendlier ones. For example, you might put off a dreaded email by doing your laundry, finishing a lab report and cleaning your room. Now you can go into the less desirable tasks knowing they’re the only thing separating you from a nice break.

Give yourself easy wins

Even small tasks deserve a place on the checklist. The first thing you check off, for example, might be ‘write a to do list.’ It may seem silly to include something like this, but it’s a great way to start building momentum.

Manage your energy levels

Running up against your deadlines can be a way to work with high levels of energy and laser focus. Just make sure the deadline window is not when you are beginning your assignment. Also recognize that the desire to procrastinate can come from fatigue, so be sure to let yourself rest when you need it.

See also: How To Find Your Learning Style

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.