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Independent Learning

Everyone procrastinates, rather than getting on with what we really should be working on, we choose to do something else.  Procrastination is not the same as laziness; you can be dead busy but doing the wrong things! 

Recognising Procrastination

It's important to recognise when you are procrastinating. Below are some things you may say regularly that can indicate you are procrastinating:

  • “I work better under pressure.” University will be full of deadlines, which are useful for organising your time.  Ask yourself truthfully if you really work better under that pressure? Or are you forced to do the work nearer to the deadline as you are anxious as the time approaches.  Will this really allow you to produce your best work?  You need to focus on producing your best work not just getting it done or writing loads of words. What can I do?  Not what do I have to do.
  • “I'll fail.” Failing is a common fear.  It can fuel your decision to put things off.  If you are worried, then realistically you need to allow yourself more time to work through the problem or seek support to enable you to produce your best work. 
  • “There’s loads of time.” You can easily convince yourself to start things at the last minute, after all you can pull an all-nighter?  Be mindful that you will have lots of deadlines and assignments to complete, so you need to carefully manage your time and allow yourself time to complete work well.  Starting early is important.


Taking Lots of Breaks (and Long Breaks)!

This can be a useful tool, but too many will constantly break your concentration and lots of long ones will simply decrease the amount of time you have to complete the work. 



Tips to Beat Procrastination

There are many different reasons why we procrastinate, so different solutions are needed. Try the techniques below to find out what works for you.

  1. Start with something easy - Once you have started, you will feel better.  Take time to understand the task and plan how to get to the end.   
  2. Be sensible where you stop! - Stop somewhere where you will feel OK about picking it up again.  If you leave something at a difficult part, or somewhere half-finished, you are less likely to want to pick it up again or may not understand what you did previously!
  3. Break tasks into small chunks - Breaking big assignments or tasks into lots of small ones will help you divide your work into achievable goals and get them completed.  
  4. Be honest with yourself - leaving one day to complete something is not enough time.  Pretending you understand something when you don’t is simply storing up problems and increasing anxiety.  Don't be afraid to ask for help and plan your time.  What distracts you? If you are distracted at home with temptations go to the Library or block alerts on your phone.  
  5. Prioritise tasks - Making a clear plan will make you feel better; you will be able to then see what you have achieved, and what needs to be completed.
  6. Schedule breaks - You are not a machine! Everyone needs a break to refocus their minds. You can use these breaks to motivate yourself and they can help you concentrate and plan chunks time.
  7. Get on with it! - You have planned and prioritised…  Now you need to do it!


Beating Procrastination Podcasts

Alex, Naomi and Diana discuss how you can beat procrastination, sharing their methods, tips and tricks. Their advice is supported through student advice from social media responses.