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I Beat Procrastination...and You Can Too!

After putting off a project that wasn't due for weeks, nothing's worse than that split-second, panic-stricken moment when you remember. Here are the best ways to avoid those terrifying, heart-stopping moments and stop procrastinating once and for all.

We’ve all been there: A huge essay, project, report, or presentation is assigned. The due date? Three weeks from now. An immediate need to start chipping away at it is not present in most of our minds. We think, “Oh, I’ve got loads of time before I even need to think about worrying about that!”

The fact is: no, we don’t. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, it’s as though all of my teachers get together and decide to each assign a huge project in every class—all due during one week. Procrastination is an illness, a disease that plagues many high school students, college students, and adults alike; however, it can be conquered, it can be beaten, and if we have willpower strong enough, we can complete assignments days or even weeks before their due dates!

I’d always heard that proper planning was the key to success, but I never really bought into it until I reached high school and realized that my life was going to be completely chaotic if I didn’t buy a planner and sit down at least once a week and map out what was going on in my life. During those four, insane years before they take the plunge into (almost) adulthood, many students join clubs and extracurriculars that not only interest them but will help bolster their college applications as well. If you’re anything like me, you think you can do it all and will want to join anything and everything that is offered.

As your life gets busier and busier, it becomes easier and easier to push off things that you don’t feel are important. Without a huge due date looming over our heads, it can be easy to “forget” about important assignments until that split-second, panic-stricken moment when you remember. Here are the best ways to avoid those terrifying, heart-stopping moments and stop procrastinating once and for all.

Make a to-do list

You may have what seems like a million things on your plate, but if you sit down and prioritize them, they won’t seem as daunting. Of course, once you make that list, it is very important that you actually stick to it.

Don’t blow the assignment out of proportion

Obviously some assignments are bigger than others. The best thing you can do to stay positive is to not think about the magnitude of the assignment. Do your best on everything you do, and the rest will come naturally.

Take the first step

Sometimes a task can seem so daunting that the very thing that is deterring people from completing it is simply starting it. Take the plunge; don’t be afraid. I promise, this assignment won’t bite you.

Start with the most difficult assignment first

This is extremely pertinent when it comes to simple nightly homework. Start with what you know will be the most time-consuming and difficult task first. The longer you put it off, the more formidable it will seem. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

Face your fears…and finish

A lot of the time, all it takes is starting the project to get the ball rolling. Don’t dwell on it too long, just take it all in stride. Think of the sense of accomplishment when you finally finish!

Procrastination affects the best of us, incapacitating even the hardest of workers; however, if we all stay strong and determined with a game plan in place, we can beat it (as cheesy as it may sound). I have a long history of being a procrastinator, and it worsens depending on what class needs to be addressed (I’m looking right at you, trigonometry). But I’ve found that the best way to avoid procrastination is to sit down and plan a precise schedule of what days you are going to work on what—just be sure not to procrastinate that planning session!

Related: Top 10 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

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About Shelby Smith

Hello! My name is Shelby, and I am the features editor of my school newspaper. I love reading and writing (duh) and in my spare time, I coach a cheerleading team. Hopefully one day I will be traveling the world, writing about the amazing things I'll have the privilege of experiencing.


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