So you’ve got a big assignment due in two weeks. You know that it’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but you also know that you are the master of procrastination and probably won’t start working on it until the day before it’s due. There has to be some way to overcome this! You just know that if you could get yourself to work on this project throughout the next couple weeks, you could get a great score on it. And that’s where this blog post comes in!
The biggest way to avoid procrastination is to simply start working on the task. But this alone still seems insurmountable, so let’s break it down a little more:
When you first receive a task, you should sit down and look at the components and requirements. Breaking these parts down into manageable tasks can prevent the whole thing from becoming overwhelming. After you’ve identified the small tasks, it is important to assign specific deadlines to each one. The more you can get done throughout the next two weeks, the less you will have to do the night before the due date.
For example, say you were assigned a research essay on a Monday, and it was due the next Friday. The essay could be split into the following components: annotated bibliography, thesis, outline, rough draft, proofreading, and final draft. You could aim to finish the research in the first two days, spend a day doing the thesis, and have an outline created by Friday of the first week. Then, you could set a goal of completing a rough draft over the weekend and proofreading by Tuesday. At this rate, it would be no problem to have a final draft by the second Friday, when the assignment is due.
One benefit of this method is that you do not dwell on the overall assignment too much. Thinking about writing a research essay can be very daunting if considered as a whole. However, accomplishing parts of the overall assignment will create feelings of success and reduce your stress, which can lead to more productive work.
You might worry that you will make a wrong decision in your first couple days of working on the assignment and make it more difficult for yourself later. Maybe, you wonder, it would be simplest to do it all at once while the ideas are connected in your mind. But that’s the beauty of writing – every draft is a living document, and can be updated to reflect new ideas that may come to you as you continue through the process.
You also may find that you still avoid your small tasks. If this is the case, it could be helpful to try a trick called the “Five Minute Miracle”. When you have a few minutes to spare, ask yourself what you can do in the next five minutes to progress in any way, even the smallest bit, on your project. Then set a timer and get to it! Any progress is good progress.
The next time you have a large project, try out these tips – you may be surprised by how little effort they take and how much impact they can have!
– By Georgia Hurchalla