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The best way to overcome procrastination

By Danielle Barakat on 24 September 2018NSWblogStudy tipsMotivation


You have officially graduated and I bet the thing you’re dreading most right now is having to sit down at your desk for the next three weeks to study for yet another set of exams. Luckily this is the last time you will be doing this (at school that is) and even though the thought of that is enough to get some people through, for others it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be fully focused or committed. Even though you know you should be studying, finding the motivation and trying to avoid procrastination is still going to be a massive challenge.

Whether you procrastinate by endlessly scrolling Instagram, aimless YouTube binging or consuming unnatural amounts of food chances are you will get sucked into the shameless procrastination cycle and will find it hard to break these bad habits.

So here are our top 5 tips to avoid procrastination:

1. Routine

The best way to get through a day without the temptation of procrastination is by setting yourself up with a really solid study plan and routine. I find the easiest routine to get yourself into is the 3 hours on and 40 mins off. So that means 3 hours of hardcore studying followed by a 40 min break. Those 3 hours have to be distraction free. That means no phone or Facebook until it’s done, save that for the 40 mins off. The best thing is that 40 mins is the perfect amount of time to get in a sneaky episode of your favourite tv show (or maybe even 2 if you go with Friends)... guilt free.

2. Be efficient

The best way to get through a solid day of studying without being urged to open YouTube is to reduce the amount of work you actually have to do. This just means being really efficient with the methods of study you choose to use. So instead of spending one 3 hour block trying to read the textbook, highlight and write notes (which should already be done at this stage) you could spend some time watching some Atomi videos on the same topic. They’ll give you the general idea and then you can spend the next 2.5 hours adding in examples, case notes and trying out some practice questions. This will give you the greatest bang for your buck and you will get the same amount of work done in half the time, making it really hard for you to get distracted and hopefully won’t drive you to boredom either.

3. Schedule your phone breaks

We can all get stuck in the shameless app cycle from time to time. You start on Instagram, and then jump to Facebook and then Snapchat but then why not check Facebook again something might’ve changed in the last 20 minutes and then before you know it you’re deep in Lad Bible videos and memes and all of a sudden your 40 min study break has turned into a long 3 hour waste of time…

So to avoid this the best thing to do is to schedule in the times you can check your phone. This means put your phone in a different room (not just face down on your desk where you can still hear the vibrations) and tell yourself that you can only get up to check once you have completed a certain list of things. Whether that be a 3 hour study session, a past paper or successfully memorizing an essay. That way you’ll feel like you’ve rewarded yourself and think about how much new stuff will be on your Facebook after a whole 3 hours without checking. That’s a win!

Also - for those of you who have iMessage, WhatsApp or Facebook notifications on your laptop do yourself a favour and turn them off.

4. Swap out the hard stuff for the easy stuff

Procrastination happens the most when you’re doing something that’s either really boring or something that’s really hard that you just don’t want to commit to. So a good study strategy to help you out of this is to do easier work or something that is more engaging. There’s no point wasting 3 hours on something that’s really hard if you’re mind is preoccupied. Stop and get some easy stuff out of the way so that you can at least tick a few things off your checklist so you don’t feel completely useless.

5. Don't check your personal email

These are a sneaky devil. How many of you have stopped studying when you see an email come in about a sale Kookai is having or about a new pair of Nike runners that have been released? Having your emails open and notifications on is a dangerous path to a 3 hour block of procrastination. So turn off notifications and steer clear of your personal emails. Your school email is fine to have open in case you want to email your teachers etc but if you know that you’re going to get emails that’ll distract you, turn them off!

These will still be available to check in your 40 min break I promise.


Even the best of us get sucked into procrastination and it’s only natural for your mind to wonder if you’re spending every day doing the same thing. But the best way to get over it is by setting yourself up with a an engaging and efficient study routine and by scheduling in all your app/eating/binge watching breaks.

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