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Four big reasons you are a citizen of the biggest nation on the planet: Procrasti-nation

November 16, 2020

#1 – You’re feeling overwhelmed

Sometimes when we have so many things going on in our lives, we get caught up in it. Assignments, things we need to do for clubs, family stuff, a part time or full time job all feel like their important and pull us in different directions. It can get to the point where the list of things we need to do is so long that we don’t even know where to start, so we don’t do anything. Then more things start piling on, adding to the stress. It’s a really vicious little cycle. That’s overwhelm.

You can fix that though. Taking yourself out of the overwhelm while simple in some ways can often be hard to do. The best way I’ve learned how to get myself out of the overwhelm is to sit down and write a list of everything I need to get done. Then I pick one or two quick easy tasks off that list and do them right then. It can be as easy as writing that paragraph for Spanish class, followed by taking out the garbage. It’s such a great feeling to cross off or check off my list. Once those first few are done, you start feeling the momentum of accomplishment and then you just start ticking one thing off after another until suddenly, you realize you’re done. Voila! You’re feeling better, out of the overwhelm and ready to tackle the new things that come your way without procrastinating anymore.

#2 – You’re feeling scared or fearful of the class

I’m re-reading the book Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. This book is geared for music and performance students, so if you’re in a music, dance or theater program you might want to check it out. It also has some interesting notes for those who are not necessarily in those fields but might have a little “stage freight” in the classes where they have to read out loud or give presentations.

In this book Werner says: “People who have unusual difficulty learning and playing might have been told at an early age that playing music is very difficult, or that they were untalented. Once that is believed it becomes very hard to progress.”

Basically, he says that it comes down to us not wanting to feel foolish or unworthy. You see, our egos are pretty fragile little creatures that will do anything for us avoid embarrassment or failure.

That happens a lot in classes too. I know that I would sometimes avoid doing math assignments because I always feel dumb when I couldn’t figure it out, even if I spent a lot of time on it. Or I just knew I was going to fail the assignment anyway, so what was the point? Why would I want to see another bad grade on something I was working so hard at. So, I started, truly, procrastinating out of fear.

But life will sometimes present us with hard things that are worth the effort and we can’t hold off on doing them just because they are hard. The best way out of this procrastination trap is to seek out help. Go to office hours for your professor, if there’s a mentoring program for the class, take advantage of it, and if you still find yourself struggling, get a one-on-one tutor. You don’t need to suffer this type of procrastination. Go beat it with taking action.

#3 – You’re feeling bored or disinterested

Oh wow, is this a huge one guys! Gen Eds can sometimes be boring. Sometimes classes within your major can be boring. I remember taking an entire class on Chaucer. Don’t get me wrong. Chaucer did, at times, have a salty sense of humor, but he was not my favorite author… Not my idea of a pleasant beach read. Shakespeare might fall into the same category for you. I found him way more interesting than the Canterberry Tales. Different people like different things…

But when you’re taking a class that requires you to show some interest in a topic that thoroughly makes you snore, you still have to show up as your best self. Your GPA can’t afford for you to put off assignments just because you don’t see why in the world you should have to take the class.

This is perhaps the toughest form of procrastination to overcome, because you just have to do the work. There’s a book called “Eat That Frog” that I think perhaps some of the best suggestions for it. The best of which is this: Do the most unpleasant task of the day, first. If it’s a boring, uninteresting thing but you have to do it, get it over with first. Get it off your plate and then you no longer have to think about it, or stew about the unfairness of having to do it. So as your grandma might have said, “quit belly aching” and just make it the first thing you get done, so you move on to the things that light a fire in you.

#4 – You’re not allowing yourself enough time to rest

Sometimes, procrastination is just a sign that we need to rest. It is so easy for our brains to become overloaded over the course of a semester. There’s so much expected of students and the worst part is, the way the course work is designed the heaviest load might come at the time you’re the most tired, the end of the semester. It’s as if every professor secretly got together to stack all their work on top of each other’s.

When that happens, it’s important to remember to take extra breaks and not study for more than 30 minutes at a time on any one subject, taking 10-15 minute breaks in between. Our brains are not wired for concentration over long stretches and we don’t learn our best when we try to cram. So take breaks often, get your sleep, take care of your body by exercising or walking and you’ll avoid this form of procrastination.

Hope this helps you #stressless and #achievemore on campus!