Use time management to stop procrastinating

Last updated: 04/02/14 5:40pm


Most of us have procrastinated at some point or another (and if you have not, I am pretty sure you are a robot). It is easy to get bogged down in work, especially at this point in the semester. The key is to manage the urge to put off tasks and not to allow it to consume your schedule.

Procrastinating is not unusual. In fact, a study published by the American Psychological Association estimates “that in academic settings in North America, over 70% of students exhibit this behavior.”

Students frequently complain about our lack of time to do things. We tend to have “woe is me” attitudes when it comes to how busy we are, yet how much time do we spend complaining about how little time we have?

Ironically, we find time for everything else (like binge-watching shows on Netflix). Where is that time coming from?

We have 1440 minutes in a day and 168 hours in a week. All that time has to go somewhere.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that based on data gathered between 2008 and 2012, college students spent, “3.4 hours engaged in educational activities, 2.7 hours working, 8.6 hours sleeping, and spent 3.8 hours in leisure and sports activities.”

It is important to remember that, within our circumstances, we do have control over our lives and how we live them.

As Laura Vanderkam wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: ‘I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.’ ‘I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.’”

Vanderkam suggests, “Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.”

Our decisions regarding schoolwork provide a wonderful example to learn from: when we are proactive in pursuing education and when we possess the desire to learn, we get so much more out of our experience. We can explore new topics and learn about the world. We actually get more out of our educational experiences when we invest our time in it, rather than putting tasks off and panicking later.

Think about all the energy that goes into last-minute stress and looking for shortcuts on assignments. Just the thought itself is physically exhausting.

To echo Vanderkam, we make the decision to delay tasks, and we can change that decision and be proactive instead.

We accomplish so much more when we have the perspective of seeing the forest, not just the trees (and with so much less stress on ourselves at that!).

If that research paper or presentation was done within the overall timeframe it was supposed to be done in, we would really grasp the overall concept of the project and gain a deeper insight into the topic.

We can choose to pursue excellence. We are only limited by our own perspective and outlook. In pursuing excellence, the key is to work to better ourselves day by day. It is an introspective matter, measuring our success by our own definition of excellence.

Every day is a new day, a new opportunity to get us one step closer to our goals. Every class, every meeting, and every homework assignment is another stepping stone to help us learn and grow as people. The goal is to work to improve ourselves and to give back.

The challenge is, stop procrastinating.

Published Apr 2, 2014 in Opinions

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