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Learning Strategies

Time management, study aids, note taking, test preparation skills and more strategies for academic success.

Managing Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates. Procrastination is a natural response of our brain to tasks that we perceive to be difficult, boring or unattractive. It's easier and a lot more fun to watch a YouTube video, scroll through Instagram or grab a snack than to sit down and study for a test. However, we can also learn how to use the "logical" part of our brain to win over the "emotional" part so that we procrastinate less and do what we need to do.

Here are 7 helpful tips to manage procrastination:
1. Identify the reason you are procrastinating and figure out a way to tackle it.

Is the task: 

Boring: Make it more enjoyable by studying with friends (as long as you are actually studying) or in a different setting (e.g. coffee shop).

Too difficult: Reach out for help. Ask a classmate or book a Peer Tutor to help you get started. 

Too big and overwhelming: Break it down into smaller chunks and focus on one part at a time. Write out a "to do" or Project Task List for large projects.

2. Set a time limit of how long you will work on this task. 

It feels better to think, "I'm going to see how much I can get done in the next 25 min, then take a break" rather than "I'm going to be studying all day today."

3. Remove the first 5 min. of barriers to your task. Often getting started is the hardest part.

For example, log in to your computer, collect/open all your notes, your "to do" list, water bottle, etc. in your study space.

4. Make it hard for yourself to get distracted!

Put your phone in a far away place or "do not disturb" mode. Let your housemates know that you are working on something important and they shouldn't disturb you for the next "x" amount of time. Temporarily block websites (e.g. YouTube). 

For more helpful tips on limiting distractions, see this quick video.

5. List or think of all the costs of not doing your task right now. 

For example, "I'm still going have to do this later so I might as well do it now."

"If I don't study, I'm going to do poorly on the test and then I will feel disappointed."

"If I don't do my readings now, it will be really hard to catch up in the course and I will be more stressed."

6. If you must procrastinate, procrastinate productively.

Create a procrastination list of tasks that you don't mind doing (e.g. checking school e-mail, downloading lecture notes, watch a YouTube video on study skills, etc.) that will keep you productive.

7. Book an appointment with a Learning Strategist.

Some of us just like to work with others rather than on our own. 


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