The pressures of university life can encourage procrastination and form mental blocks between you and starting work.
Don't wait for the perfect moment to start. Begin before you are absolutely ready. Title a document and save it and feel good that you have started.
Print your documents. Cut bits out and play with ways to piece your work together. Draw a mind map or brainstorm ideas.
'Playing' is a good way of tricking your brain into getting started.
Set an alarm for fifteen minutes, and work until the alarm goes off. Set it again for a fifteen-minute break. Repeat, increasing the time you work.
Write down your ideas in an unstructured way. Open up a new document and call it 'The plan'. Break down what you need to do into small tasks and write them down.
Remember this is for your eyes only - it doesn't have to be perfect!
The mood or energy required to decide on the next step is different to that required to perform it, so keep track of what the 'next action' will be from your plan.
The next step must be something you can act on now; so finding that book from the library is not the next step. The next step is getting dressed.
If you have a number of tasks, write down a list of what you need to do. Rewrite the list in order of priority and achievability.
Enjoy it when you tick off a completed task.
As well as scheduling time to complete your tasks, set aside some time to worry about your work. Do this just before something that will help you stop worrying, like watching a TV programme.
Working with other people can give you energy. Wanting to help others work can help you focus.
Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.
Find your mantra
Think of a helpful phrase that motivates you to beat the procrastination habit:
- It's better to produce something rather than nothing.
- If you don't shoot you won't score.
- Most jobs need completion not perfection.
- If the minimum wasn't acceptable it wouldn't be called the minimum.
- Every journey begins with a small step.
Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself. Strict expectations may sabotage your progress or cause you to rebel.
Jump around, shake your arms and legs, do a headstand. It is very hard to be anxious when you are doing something silly.
Write down the thoughts that are leading you to a scary conclusion. Is the catastophe really inevitable?
If you are putting yourself down, stop it. Rephrase your thoughts into something more positive.
Plan a treat for when you have accomplished a task.
No one can just work all the time. To be effective you need to look after yourself physically. Schedule time for food, friends, enjoyable activities and sleep.
Workshops and groups
If you're struggling with procrastionation you might find it helpful to attend one of the following workshops:
See our Workshops and groups page for other workshops that may help with your wellbeing.