This archived article was written by: McKenzie Hosenfield
Chances are, as you are reading this article, you have a project or essay that is due in the future that you have been procrastinating for weeks. You have also likely made many failed attempts at beginning this project, but given up after becoming frustrated and stressed.
Rather than falling into the same predicament next time you are assigned a large assignment, this article will give you tips on how to keep yourself productive and motivated on the task at hand.
Larry Severeid, associate professor of English, has worked with his fair share of overwhelmed students. He counsels students, “Just get yourself to sit down and be realistic. If you know that you have an essay that will take you six hours to finish, you will be stressed. Do it in shorter increments.”
He suggests breaking a project into small and manageable steps that will be less daunting. Another benefit of this idea is that you will have a greater sense of satisfaction as you accomplish these miniature goals.
Severeid said, “As human beings, we all like to procrastinate. We like to put off painful duties until later.” The effects of procrastination are a college student’s biggest nightmare. The largest piece of advice for this problem is to simply begin the assignment as soon as it is given. By working every day, you can finish the project bit-by-bit more quickly and be less stressed for time.
Another tip on finishing assignments is to put yourself in an environment that allows you to work most effectively. When you free yourself from distractions, you can accomplish much more than when you multi-task. Before trying to conquer your assignment, put your phone in a different room, lock your door and don’t allow yourself to leave your room until you have come to a predetermined point in the project.
If you reach a writer’s block and cannot go any farther, set a short amount of time to take a break. Breaks that are intended to be 10 minutes can easily slip into hours of Facebook stalking and Minecraft, so be specific about the time that you will allow yourself to take. Breaks are necessary to maintain your sanity and fight away mental exhaustion.
As this semester progresses and you find yourself feeling spread too thin, remember that every long journey begins with a single step. Instead of feeling stressed at the tasks ahead of you, focus on what you can accomplish today to become one step closer to the finish line.