Procrastination is not that unusual of a habit. After all, life happens sometimes, and our best intentions get pushed aside until we’re up against a deadline. College, of course, is no exception to this rule. With so much going on and so much to balance, it’s completely understandable that assignments and other obligations aren’t done until the last minute.
Sometimes, however, procrastination can indicate a larger issue. If you’re finding yourself procrastinating a lot on many things or simply procrastinating extensively on one particular task, there might be something more serious going on.
1. Are you unclear on what you’re supposed to be doing?
Alright, so you know you have to write a paper on Hamlet for your Shakespeare class. But … are you clear on what that means? Do you know specifically what your professor is looking for? Do you know what exactly you’re going to write about? How long is the paper supposed to be? What are you supposed to discuss? If you feel unclear about what exactly it is that you’re supposed to be doing, start digging for details.
Talk to some classmates, talk to your professor, or reread your notes and the syllabus to find out more. It will be easier to get started on your educational course once you are clear on what exactly you’re supposed to be starting in the first place.
2. Are you feeling a lack of confidence about doing what’s been asked?
Sometimes, things can simply feel too overwhelming. If you aren’t feeling confident about being able to do what’s been asked, you might be avoiding the issue so that you can avoid your discomfort and fear of failure (or at least fear of letting others down). Procrastinating, however, is only going to make things worse. If you don’t think you can accomplish a task, ask yourself why.
What is your biggest worry about the assignment? Is that worry reasonable or unreasonable? How would you advise a friend who was feeling overwhelmed in a similar situation? If you get started and at least make some progress, will that help you feel more confident about conquering the assignment?
3. Are you simply not sure how to start?
In some situations, you might know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing but just can’t seem to get started. You’re staring at a blank screen. You’ve reread the same passage over and over without absorbing any of it. The time you allot for finally getting things done always seems to be gobbled up by other (less important) endeavors.
If you’re finding yourself unable to get started on something, try breaking things down into smaller parts. What can you do this week to get yourself in gear? It doesn’t have to be large; it can be as simple as coming up with a thesis sentence.
If it helps, too, consider working backward from your calendar so that you can break up the assignment into more manageable pieces. For example, if you have a major paper due in 6 weeks, for example, write your thesis and intro. This week (week 1), your first main argument with evidence next week (week 2), your second main argument with evidence in week 3, your third main argument in week 4, and your conclusion in week 5.
Then, use week 6 to polish things up and have your final draft reviewed by a peer writing adviser. A little work each week can turn a major assignment into a task list of smaller (and easier to accomplish) to-dos.
4. Would you feel better if you had some help?
It’s positively silly not to ask for help during your time in college. Do you need some tutoring? Some mentoring? Does some help manage your stress? Help manage your time better? Help to talk through a major paper? Help to learn how to write clearer lab reports? Help to study more effectively? You might be struggling with an assignment because you’re missing a piece of the puzzle that can help you have an “aha!” moment about how best to tackle your task. Don’t be too shy (or proud!) to avoid asking for assistance so that you can find what you’re missing.
5. Do you simply find the assignment uninteresting?
Ideally, every one of your college classes will be engaging, interesting, and eye-opening. In reality, however, there will likely be a few duds along the way. There might be some classes, professors, and/or course content that is at least in your mind-downright boring. And when that happens, trying to conquer a major assignment on the topic sounds positively dreadful. If this is the case, see how you can make things more engaging.
Can you promise yourself a nice reward (meal out, game download) once you finish? Can you work with a friend or classmate to help make studying, writing, or researching more enjoyable? Can you talk to the professor about approaching your assignment in a way that resonates more strongly with your interests? Procrastination, after all, is simply avoiding the inevitable.
Given that, at some point or another, you’re going to have to get your assignment done, the earlier you figure out what’s stopping you, the earlier you can knock it out of the way. And once you’re finished, you can transform the energy you put into stress and avoidance into something much more enjoyable and rewarding.
Author: Diane H. Wong is a business content writer at essaywritercheap.org. She works out different marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.