How To Not Procrastinate

If someone told me last year that at this time next year, I would be a master procrastinator, I would’ve never believed them. As a tenth grade student who is on the verge of failure as the Personal Project is coming to an end, by which I mean that it’s due in 2 weeks (and I am nowhere near finished), it somehow has gotten easier and easier to procrastinate. Here’s the average student’s state of mind: if the thing stresses you out, do the thing after doing all other things.

Recently, I’ve found myself finding more TV shows, discovering better music, and writing more journal entries, all because I wanted to put my mind off the things that gave me anxiety, for example, the Personal Project. If it’s not the Personal Project for you, it’s probably some other kind of on-going assignment that is similar. What I’m trying to say is, by putting your mind off the work, once in a while, is very healthy, but don’t make it a habit. Coming nearer to the completion of the school year now, I’ve taught myself a few tips and tricks to be a better ‘worker’, and I’d like to share some of my secrets to anyone who’s reading (which is you, probably procrastinating your work by reading this article in the first place. Don’t worry, I won’t tell on you).


Issue #1: The Right Environment

It’s like a science experiment, if the controlled variables aren’t stabilized it will end up affecting your dependent variable, which of course is the result of studying. By ‘controlled variable’, I mean the environment of your location. If you’re trying to study, you don’t want to be in a space where there’s lots of distraction. I’ve gathered up a list of places which I found to have the most positive effect on my studying:

The Unis Library is a good place to study
  • The UNIS library, a place where you can see other people working as well. Not only will you get motivated by other people working, but because other people are working, no one will bother distracting you.
  • Want some place even better? The UNIS Art Center. In my own experience, working in the Art rooms always gave me the best results because: everyone has their heads tied down to their artworks, the place has air conditioning, art students have excellent music taste and they share music on the speakers! All in all, it’s just the right ambience! Another place to work would be at a café, or even out on the school’s picnic tables, because for some reason we don’t take enough advantage of UNIS’ beautiful campus!
  • I’ve always found working with my friends to have the worst outcome. Most of the time, the newest gossip will distract you from your work, and everyone wants to talk about their day at the same time! What you need is to get the assignment done, so I suggest choosing a place where you’re surrounded by people you don’t know. This may seem like going to the extreme, but it works.
  • The right environment also means having everything you need there, and everything you don’t need, out of reach. I like to have music on when I study, but I know from past experience that I will always end up browsing on Soundcloud or Youtube for stuff I don’t need. So, find time when you don’t have work to do, and make yourself a playlist, I suggest looking for tags like ambient, relaxing, down tempo, or even soundtracks of movies you like (I find Interstellar, Whiplash and Wes Anderson to have the best soundtracks, but it depends on your taste!). Also, I always find having food at arm’s reach to be very helpful, as I tend to get hungry when I work and I don’t recommend having random breaks to get food and water.


Issue #2: Social Media

I could’ve put this issue in with the previous issue, but because it’s so important and distracting, it needs to have its own section. Okay, so we all know that social media are the best and worst thing that has ever happened, especially for a high school student, but how do we stop it from affecting our studying? Our lives are bound to the likes and the comment sections, so it’s hard to disconnect ourselves from that sometimes. But maybe this time, desperate times calls for extreme measures, or whatever that saying is.

Recently, I’ve taken it upon myself to disconnect from all social media. This means that I’ve deactivated my Facebook, logged out from Snapchat and Instagram, and even took the time to delete all those apps on my iPod. Of course, I’ll be logging back soon, but not until I’ve finished all my work.

The challenge is a tough one, but you’ll find it to be rewarding in the end! For me, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Now, I don’t have to constantly check for notifications and messages. And even if you’re worried that someone might desperately need to contact you through any social media, trust me when I say that they will contact you in person. Don’t worry!


Issue #3: Being On Task

By being on task, I mean working through the right order of things. If you have something that’s due in two days, as opposed to something that’s due in two weeks, please start doing the work that’s due in the nearest time. I often find myself doing random homework instead of actual assignments that would be due in a day, because I would get very stressed out just thinking about them. But trust me, once you get down to work, you won’t even remember the stress!

My suggestion is to make a list (or have a planner) if you can keep up with your assignments. I always write down the homework and tasks from class in my planner in an ordered style, so that I can keep track of what I’ve done and what I need to finish. You can also use apps such as Pendo or to help you organize your time. Personally, I love making lists and I love the uplifting feeling I get when I finish a task and get to cross it off my list. So, I recommend you should try it out for yourself!

This is my actual homework planner and it works pretty well! You can buy these at any bookstore or stationary store


Issue #4: Overworking

I know I’ve been stressing on about how to work better and the importance of finishing work, but it’s also crucial that you take breaks in between. Overworking will result in headaches and tiredness, which would lead to resting and watching TV, which would lead to procrastination, again. I suggest not falling into this cycle, as it has happened so many times before for me, so take breaks! Finish a task, take a 15 to 30 minutes break by going outside, playing with your pets, reading a book, taking a quick jog, meditating… whatever works for you the best. Most importantly, just because your friend says they’re ahead of work or they haven’t started their work, doesn’t mean you have to be on the same level as them. Working is not a competition, just remember to not let yourself down and that it doesn’t matter what other people think.

To summarize, start by sitting down with just your work in front, and get to work. I know it’s challenging to focus, with all that’s going on in life because being a kid can be hard sometimes, but try to follow my plan and we’ll be right on track! Good luck studying!