I’m sure you have all heard countless people try to crack the “procrastination code”. Mini rewards, chewing gum, and even colorful notes have been a few of the many ways people have tried to limit this common practice. While there are numerous ways people try to stay self disciplined about this, everyone is different. Some things work better for certain people that may not work for others.

The biggest thing that works for me, and what I want to share with you, is to tell myself: “Okay this is something that needs to be done. It can be done now or it can be done later. I’m going to do it now”. As trivial as it may seem, thinking about this statement throughout the day has really helped me stay on track. Not only does this help with academic assignments, but it also helps me stay clutter free. What I mean by that is, it’s easy to come home from a long day and leave your coat on the floor or a chair instead of putting it away. In this scenario I would tell myself the same thing. Taking the extra thirty seconds right there and then to put something away saves me from having to spend thirty minute cleaning later. Additionally, it’s easier to study in a de-cluttered environment, a true win-win

For all my planner friends out there, another tactic I like to use is to schedule exactly when and how long I will devote to certain subjects. I may set aside two hours to translate Latin, thirty minutes to review economics notes, one hour to complete logic proofs, and of course five to ten minute breaks in between. When I try and give an assignment or goal a set time frame, I tend to be more organized and willing to complete it. If you want to get even more creative, you can try breaking everything up even further. Maybe devote fifteen minutes to one chemistry problem, then perhaps ten on the next one. Just like breaking up big tasks and goals make them more achievable, scheduling out assignments even further may have the same effect; thus, making the work less dreadful.

A final way I try to eliminate procrastination is to simply share my to-do list with someone. I find that when I tell someone what I need to accomplish it holds me more accountable because someone other than myself knows what needs to be done. If the only person who knows is yourself, then it’s no big deal if something does not get done. On the other hand, if someone can check in with you to see how you are progressing, you feel more inclined to get things done.

Being a first generation college student, I’m the first one in my family to try and balance social time, academics, and good health in a college setting. While navigating this puzzle has undoubtedly been difficult, once I found what worked for me I began to feel more productive and encouraged. Though I must admit – there are still a few times where I allow myself to put things off, and that’s okay. Nobody is perfect. So, I challenge you to find what works best for you. How do you fight procrastination?