I’m a senior in high school and let me tell you, I’m really feeling that senioritis. I'm halfway through my senior year and time couldn't go faster. I thought this year was going to be easy and smooth, but between applying to college and keeping up with homework, I'm overwhelmed and unmotivated. Considering I’m still in the middle of college applications, this is very inconvenient timing.
As a student, I’ve always wondered how procrastination has affected my academic performance. Turns out, procrastination on school work majorly impacts grades, according to a study by the Warwick Business School. When students waited until the last minute to complete a project, their grades dropped by five percent compared to students who started earlier.
Unfortunately, I've become one of those students who wait.
To undo these bad habits, I’ve adopted a few strategies that have helped me become more productive. Here are my six go-to ways to get back on track.
1. No Background Noise
Having music or a TV show playing while I do my homework always distracts me and causes me to get off task. I feel like trying to write an essay while hearing someone else’s words makes writing ten times harder. Personally, working in silence makes me more productive because the only thing I’m listening to is my own thoughts. Studying with friends is background noise too, and unless my friends and I are working on something together, I find that it’s better to work alone.
2. Make A To-Do List
This may seem like common sense, but I never realized how helpful to-do lists were before I started using them. I used to rely on my memory to get things done, but I should have known better. For example, I had to write a paper and I had two weeks to do it, but because I kept forgetting to work on it, I had to write the whole thing the night before it was due. Whenever I make a to-do list, it’s important for me to order it from most to least important. That way, I can make sure I get the most important things done. I feel like this is more helpful than a regular to-do list because it helps me prioritize and be more organized.
3. Set A Timer
For every 30 minutes of hard work, I reward myself with 10 minutes of free time. I didn't come up with this one, I found it somewhere online, as I was looking up ways to not procrastinate. This method has been very helpful. Spacing out my work, 30 minutes at a time, has allowed me to concentrate and get my work done a lot more quickly and painlessly.
4. No Phones
I know this is such common advice, but it actually does help. When I have something really important to do, like a project or paper for class, I like to keep my phone as far away from me as possible. I've gone as far as putting my phone in another room because even hearing it buzz or ring distracts me. I used to get sucked into my phone for hours when I should’ve been doing homework, but by keeping out of sight, I've become more productive.
5. Sit At A Desk Or Table
I used to do homework in bed and a few times I’ve fallen asleep and had to wake up in the middle of the night to finish my homework. Although it may seem obvious that the bed isn't the place for work, as soon as I started sitting at a desk I noticed how much more productive I got. Although, in order to work at a desk, I can’t have it piled with trash or junk, so having a clean space is important.
6. Be Held Accountable
I know myself, and even with all the tips above, I still find it hard to stay on track, so I need someone to hold me accountable. I've learned that it’s helpful to have someone you can count on, a friend or family member, who can get on your case and get you back on task. I usually ask my mom to help me with this, because she usually catches me when I’m distracted.