Saturday, October 9, 2010

Personal Study Habits: Overcoming Procrastination

One habit that plagues many students across the world myself included is procrastination. Why do we procrastinate so much? What steps can we take to rid ourselves of this bad habit?   As I write this article, I am fighting the clock once again to get this finished. However, I want to layout for you how I plan to overcome this habit in my own life and hopefully if a fellow procrastinator is reading this, they will get something positive out of it as well.
First of all, why do so many people procrastinate or leave tasks that must be completed to the last minute. Part of why procrastination runs rampant throughout the world is because of how easy a trap it is to fall into. But what is the root cause? As I learned in a recent visit to God’s Bible School and College, procrastination stems mainly from two things; fear of failure and laziness. Now that we know what the problem is, how do we prevent it from reoccurring?
            How do we overcome our fear and our laziness? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced both of these feelings. Sometimes I’ll look at my assignments for the week and come across one of the lengthier ones and let out a defeating statement like “that is too hard” or “this is going to take forever.” This is a big no-no and often leads to putting the assignment off to the last minute or not doing it at all. A necessary step to overcoming procrastination is setting a positive mindset. Surely at some point in your academic career you have done well on a rather difficult assignment. One approach to take is drawing on those past accomplishments and telling yourself that you can succeed. 
            Another approach that ties into getting the right mindset and I believe must be taken to overcome fear of failure is accepting the fact that failure is often a better teacher than success and is sometimes necessary for success. I can’t remember who said it but there’s a saying that goes, “The greatest triumph isn’t that we never fail, but in rising up after we fall.”  Does that mean we should fail on purpose or not try? Of course not! The point I’m trying to make is we won’t always succeed and through our failures we can learn how to achieve success. Perseverance plays a big part in realizing many of our goals in life. Most of us won’t have everything handed to us on a silver platter and will have to work hard to meet these goals.
            What else can we do to overcome procrastination? I’ve become a big believer in time management and a key to managing your time effectively is making out a schedule and keeping to it. I would recommend writing the schedule down either in your phone, computer, or daily planner. I would also recommend coming up with some way of holding yourself accountable for keeping to the schedule and setting up some kind of punishment if you don’t stick to it. It can help to set sub- goals within the main goals such as getting a certain amount of the assignment done by a designated time. This helps in overcoming the lazy portion of procrastination.

            In conclusion, even though procrastination is a big problem for many people, there is a way to overcome it. It starts by ignoring that negative voice in your head that says things to discourage you from accomplishing necessary tasks and meeting deadlines. As with most achievements in life, eliminating procrastination and developing good study habits is a process and won’t happen overnight. However, with the right mindset, some perseverance, and dedication to a set schedule, you and I can become better managers of our time and better students as well.