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Control Procrastination

How can just getting started on a task reduce procrastination?

For some students the most difficult part of working on a task is getting started.

Though they have good intentions to get down to work, they find reasons to delay getting started or feel too overwhelmed to begin. If you have trouble getting into a task or settling down to work, here are some ideas that might help.

8 ways to get started

  1. Start every study session with a goal that is either a time limit (I'll read as much as I can in one hour) or the completion of one task (I'll read chapter 3).  Goals involving both time limits and task completion can be more difficult to accomplish.
  2. Set goals that you can accomplish in one or two hours – that’s easier than starting a task that you think might take all day.
  3. If you like to set high goals to push yourself to accomplish more, make sure your goals are achievable. If you end up feeling frustrated because you don’t meet your goals, that’s a sign to break down your goals into smaller ones.
  4. Share one of your goals with a friend or family member, and ask them to check up on you later to see if you accomplished it.
  5. Set aside 10 or 15 minutes a day to work on a big project - small and less intimidating tasks are a lot less likely to get put off.
  6.  If you tend to spend too much time on one part of a project (like the research for a paper) but procrastinate on the next step (like writing), set start deadlines for those parts of the project.
  7. If your program involves creative projects such as writing or designing, look for ways to actively pursue inspiration rather than waiting for it. 
  8. Identify habits or “rituals” that may prevent you from getting down to work quickly.  You may not be aware of how much time you’re wasting on things like getting a coffee, looking at Buzzfeed, or finding the perfect spot in the Library.   

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