Breaking the procrastination cycle

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Procrastination is a problem that so many of us suffer from, especially in college. Many people might think we can never get out of the cycle, but there is a way! Take it from someone who could have been the captain of procrastinators anonymous and finally made it out.

I have been a procrastinator ever since elementary school. I became skilled in the art of last minute paper writing and project creating. Assignments would be given and I would have every intention of starting early but suddenly the due date would blind-side me.

That was until one semester I had so much on my plate that I realized that I could not afford to have my usual routine.

Something had to change!

Like many other procrastinators I had tried to change my ways before but was unsuccessful on each attempt. It was time to try something else and find the way that worked for me.

First I wrote every assignment on every syllabus in the planner that I had to go get. That way I could actually see in one location everything that needed to be done.

Finding time to get homework done was always an adventure in itself but there had to be space somewhere. I used technology to my advantage and entered my schedule into a calendar so it was all in one location.

From there I found even the small amounts of time that I had to get my responsibilities accomplished. That did not leave much time for breaks or a social life, but even those are important or I’d go completely crazy so those needed to be scheduled too.


Then came the hard part: sticking to my plans. All of us procrastinators have our methods of delay that are our weaknesses and it is something that each of us must learn to overcome.

Mine is my social life. I tend to take any opportunity to be with people and run with it, usually at the expense of sleep and a good effort on assignments.

I had to train myself to say no to friends when I had not yet finished everything I needed to get done. It was really hard at first but each time it got a little easier.

Finding the right environment to work on homework had to be done too. I learned that I cannot study at the library or other public places because every person that walks through my vision becomes a distraction.

So in my apartment, especially in my room, became the best place. At a table, desk or even the floor was better than on my bed where I would just get sleepy.

Headphones with music on low volume helped to cut myself off from the world more. The music varied on the subject I was studying from calm with lyrics to classical. As long as I had white noise then I was more focused.

I needed to reward myself to be a motivator. Crossing things off my to-do list became one of those because it showed me the progress that I was making from all of my effort.

After a good hour of studying I gave myself ten minutes to do what I wanted to refocus my mind. When I finished my homework with time to spare I would be able to go out with my friends.

All of my hard work paid off at the end of the semester when I had good grades and still survived. It was a lot of work but so worth it.

I slipped into old habits often, and still do, but the key is to not give up. If you keep trying to break the cycle, you eventually will.

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