So, one of the major complaints that students are continually moaning about is… Procrastination! The art of doing, well, quite simply, anything but what you are supposed to be doing! I view procrastination as an art form, and to be honest whilst at university, I had it perfected. Since I have been in the workplace, I have found very little time to procrastinate – to be honest I have just changed the term. I tend to use prioritise, instead.
In the modern century concentrating is becoming increasingly more difficult, particularly with the increasing number of interruptive marketing techniques, web 2.0 and your dreaded e-mail – “ping”, “ping”, “ping”: someone tell me how to turn the volume off! But we need to take control of our workload, be it an assignment or your latest entrepreneurial adventure, we need to master our concentration skills. So to help you along the way, I have provided five tips to help you be more productive:
Mange your time with a schedule, prioritise (in the true sense of the word) what has to be done first, and be realistic about time. You need to account for everything, research, writing, corrections, layouts changes, referencing and the at least a day to check things over. Keep a diary of when you are available and when you are not, and most importantly stick to it. If you have an hour scheduled to do something: that is when you do it!
Get off Facebook
Social media has a serious role to play in procrastination! It is estimated that the average person spends 13 minutes on social media out of every hour, this is astronomical, is there really any need? But how do we stop venting our frustrations whilst we are supposed to be working? Well remove it completely, if you have a pressing task the best course of action is to delete your account. It’s really simple, and you can just re-active it when you have finished your studies.
Bored.com, Collegehumor.com, Freerice.com, mylife.com get them blocked, there are millions of gimmicky little places to hang out, chat and play games, these are all bad! Just remove them, block them and get on with what you are supposed to be doing. It’s often more hassle to unblock them when it is done, so chances are you won’t bother unless you really really want to. If you have an impeding deadline coming up, chances are you will just switch your attention back to what you are doing.
This is the bit that I like; for a job well done, you deserve a reward! Incentivise your work, when you have finished something within your allotted time, give yourself a treat! Really simple, but surprisingly effective. Use small incentives whilst you are working, break your work down in 30 minute chunks and give yourself small rewards, set yourself a goal for the end of the project. For example, if you have just finished a 10,000 word thesis, then go for dinner with your friends, make a right old night of it. This kind of positive reinforcement makes a real difference to your mind-set and your ability to concentrate!
Often the most frustrating, and difficult, aspect of doing anything that you would normally put off is getting started. Thing is though, that once that first paragraph has been written, it is often easier than what you first thought. Trick is don’t think – just do! You can always go back and change something, but you need to start it before you can change it! In all seriousness, this really is about taking responsibility and just getting on with things. There are going to be points in your life where you just don’t want to do something, but you just need to grin and bear it. The quicker you get started, the quicker you get finished.
This article contributed by James King, author of “Student Accommodation in London – The Survivors Guide”