7 Proven Ways to Stop Procrastinating When Studying
Procrastination is a challenge we’ve all faced at one point or another.
We often struggle with delaying or avoiding things that matter to us, and while we have every good intention of getting those things done, we’ll always find a ‘good enough’ reason to put them off ‘for just a little longer’.
This rings true especially for students who know they have a few hours – or a few days – of studying ahead of them.
The fundamental issue is that we know what we should be doing; we just don’t want to do it.
Here are 7 proven ways to stop procrastinating when you’re studying that will have you feeling motivated and accomplished.
1. Remove distractions
It can be difficult to study and retain information when you’re consistently taking a minute here to answer a text, or a minute there to scroll through social media. Study requires focus, and if you’re like most people, you find it hard to avoid external distractions during your review.
While these small interruptions may seem insignificant, they take up a large amount of your time when you otherwise could’ve been productive.
A few tips to avoid distractions:
Put your phone away
It’s not easy to stay off your phone for long these days, but for the benefit of your work ethic, it’s important to try. Put your phone in another room on silent, for example, or tuck it away in your bag.
Out of sight, out of mind!
Turn off the television
While for some people a little white noise in the background can be helpful, having the television on or your computer streaming when you’re trying to study is as distracting as having your phone out.
Your favourite programme will still be there when you’re done your review, so turn it off for now and thank yourself later.
You might live with people who easily help create disruptions for you. If this is the case, you should be clear – and firm – about your study times and ask them to give you the space you need to effectively review.
2. Create a dedicated study space
Creating a dedicated area for studying is essential when you’re trying to get through review. In doing so, you’re providing yourself a space that will sharpen your mind and improve concentration.
Some spaces will lend themselves better to study environments than others, so if you can, it’s ideal to set up a study space that’s separate from your bedroom, the kitchen, or the living room.
This way, you’re less likely to be disturbed by people in your home, and you’re more likely to stay on task for longer periods of time.
Once you’ve found a suitable place for your review, organise and set it up in a way that’s tidy and purposeful. You should have the appropriate stationery, a comfortable chair, good lighting, and maybe even a houseplant or two to help create a feel-good atmosphere.
Oh, and snacks! Definitely include snacks.
3. Adapt your study technique
Everyone learns and studies in different ways.
You might find that webinars are highly effective for you, while your friend would rather read a textbook. You might prefer that something is demonstrated practically before you attempt it, whereas someone else might prefer to dive in immediately.
However, while you may prefer your specific learning style and study techniques, this shouldn’t prevent you from experimenting with new ones.
For example, a reading may tire you out after twenty minutes, and as a result, you’re unlikely to retain new information. But if you learn to adapt and break required reading material into smaller chunks of time before moving on to another topic, you might instead find success that way.
Awareness of how you most effectively retain information can help you gain confidence when you’re studying, ultimately making it easier to start in the first place.
4. Set up an external support system
Having a network of people – friends, family, and peers – that you can turn to for emotional and practical support is ideal, and an all-around great resource to have.
Studying can be stressful, but friends and loved ones are great to lean on when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to decompress.
Along with their support, they can provide you with information, advice, and guidance to keep you motivated as you study and – even better – help you celebrate your success afterwards.
It’s important to feel secure and stay connected, and to help with that, we provide an online Student Community with full access to study resources, assignments, tests, and tutors while you earn your qualification with us.
5. Make time for ‘planned procrastination’
When you’re studying, it’s inevitable that arbitrary thoughts will distract you here and there.
You start to think of what ingredients you’ll need for dinner, what holiday you want to take next, and ‘what kind of dog is that walking by outside the window?’
Your brain is looking for more stimulating things to do than review and take notes, and so it’s not uncommon for your mind to drift off when you’re in the middle of studying.
Embrace these distractions.
Ignoring them may otherwise disturb your focus, so keep a note of them instead. It’s a good idea to keep a record of every time a non-study related thought pops into your mind, create and add it to a list, and then continue with your work.
When you’ve taken a break from your review, you can complete the things on your list or simply go over them. Over time you’ll notice that you’re less distracted, allowing more opportunity for you to focus.
6. Take care of yourself
Self-care is not reward for a job well done, it is a necessary part of your success in studying.
By taking the time to care for your mental and physical well-being, you’re helping yourself to stay focused, energised, and sane. And perhaps most importantly, you’re helping to side-step any opportunity for a burnout.
There are a few simple ways in which you can be sure you’re taking the time to care for yourself.
Giving yourself 30 minutes of intermittent breaks when you’re studying can help keep you calm and collected. Allow yourself to briefly step away to switch off, and you’ll come back feeling motivated and ready to get back to the study grind.
Eat Well, Stay Hydrated
Students tend to put hydration and fuel on the backburner during high-stress periods that are often associated with studying.
Making mindful decisions about what you put in your body allows you to stay healthy, alert and focused.
It cannot be emphasised enough that an adequate amount of sleep is essential to feeling good daily.
If you’re not sleeping right, you’re likely not eating right or exercising – meaning you’re probably not studying properly either.
Get yourself into a bedtime routine that allows you to wind down and relax at a decent time, giving you the energy to power through the next day ahead.
7. Just do it!
Perfectionism and fear of failure are typically what lie at the root of procrastination.
Psychology suggests that to overcome procrastination, you should listen to your inner monologue and flag any unproductive thinking.
The idea of doing something is often much more discouraging than the task itself, so you’ll find that just getting started is the best thing you can do to avoid further procrastination.
Try thinking about why you set out to earn your qualification in the first place, and focus on the goal you set out to achieve. This will provide personal value to you and help you to accept that while certain tasks aren’t meant to be fun, they’re often worth it.
There’s never going to be a perfect time to study, and there will always be something else you’d rather be doing, so excuse yourself for your procrastination up until this point – you’re only human – and commit to getting it done.
Have you been putting off progressing your career? Stop holding yourself back and start learning with us today.
It’s time to build your career.
Request your guide to getting qualified online in HR, accountancy, project management, GCSEs and more.