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7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating

It’s happened to all of us.

You have a major project due tomorrow, and you’re doing everything but working on it. Or, you might have a pile of laundry that needs folding, and instead of putting things away, you just keep pulling from the basket.

Whether it’s a big or small task, we all find ourselves procrastinating now and again. With busy schedules and demanding lives, it may be easy to avoid things rather than conquering them.

 

While putting things off may temporarily feel good, it leads to a lot more stress down the road. A little bit of discomfort now will leave you with peace of mind and more time to focus on the things you really want to do.

Here are 7 ways you can tackle those tough tasks now — and say goodbye to that procrastination habit for good.

 

Understand Why You’re Procrastinating.

Procrastinating usually runs deeper than laziness. People often put off tasks because they fear rejection if they don’t succeed, or they have a difficult time engaging during the activity. Identifying the reasons why you’re putting off certain tasks is essential to overcoming the habit of procrastination. Ask yourself why you’re avoiding getting started. Then, develop a plan of action to specifically address those issues.

 

Make It Routine.

If you’ve been procrastinating on a particularly daunting task, the best way to get a head start is to make it feel less intimidating. Start by working on the project for only 15 minutes a day, then gradually increase the time as you get closer to your deadline. This way, you’ll ease yourself into the activity, and it transforms from a daunting assignment to part of your everyday routine.

 

Procrastinate Productively.

If you can’t bring yourself to complete a certain task right away, allow yourself to procrastinate productively. Make a list of other activities you need to get done along with how long you plan to spend on each one. As you cross each item off the list, you’ll feel more motivated to check off the activity you’re dreading too. Just make sure you keep your list short and realistic to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

 

Exercise.

In addition to the many health benefits of regularly working out, exercising also helps increase your motivation and discipline. When you start your day by being active, you’re more likely to feel energized and confident enough to tackle everything on your to-do list. Even a 10-minute run will help boost your levels of dopamine (otherwise known as the “feel good” hormone) and motivate you to get straight to work on your assignments.

 

Be Practical.

While identifying the real reasons behind your procrastination habit is what will ultimately help you overcome it, in the meantime, being practical and avoiding distractions is a good start. Minimize distractions around you by keeping your phone on airplane mode while you work — or better yet, place it on the far side of the room and leave it there. If you have to use the internet, download an app or extension that will block social media sites for a period of time, like Strict Workflow for Google Chrome.

 

Get Comfortable… But Not Too Comfortable.

Getting work done from the comfort of your bed may sound like a great idea, but it’s more likely to leave you feeling sleepy and distracted. Choose a strategic work area to tackle that task you’ve been avoiding. It should be comfortable enough that you won’t want to get up and walk around every few minutes, but not so comfortable that a nap will sound like a better option.

 

Try the Pomodoro Technique.

A popular discipline exercise, the Pomodoro technique involves working on an activity nonstop for 25-minute intervals with five-minute breaks in between. Once you’ve completed the exercise four times, take a longer 20-minute break before getting back to work. It works because your brain will be anticipating the break, and 25 minutes won’t feel like too long to stay focused.

By Priscilla Aceves

5 Tips to Stand Out at Career Fair

We know – stepping into this Friday’s Career Fair can be nerve-racking. The best way to beat the jitters? Have a game plan ready beforehand.

Today we’re bringing you 5 tips from Direct Energy Recruiting Manager Mark Broadfoot, on how you can get ready for Career Fair and make a lasting impression on recruiters.

 

Define Your Top Choices

Before you step into Career Fair, pick 5 to 10 companies you’re interested in and learn more about them. Come Friday, prioritize speaking with their representatives first. You can view a list of all the companies that will be at Career Fair here.

 

Websites Are Your Friend

Review company websites to get an idea of each company’s values, as well as what kind of candidates they’re looking for. You should be able to find out if they have a college program or internship program, and if they hire from your major.

 

Say Hello First

Don’t just linger by the snack bar – head straight to company recruiters and representatives and introduce yourself (they don’t bite)!  Next, ask your pre-planned questions – this shows you are prepared and have interest in each company.

 

Find Out the Next Steps

Every company is different, so inquire about the next steps and application process when you speak with each recruiter. Do they take résumés at the booth? Do they want you apply online? Do they require an online test? Knowing the process will help you navigate it correctly.

 

Don’t Take it Personally

If you don’t hear back from a certain company, keep in mind that today’s market is very competitive. There are many factors outside of your control that impact the likelihood and timing of responses and hiring. Standing out by leaving a good first impression and being well prepared will give you a competitive edge so that you do hear back.

With these tips and a confident attitude – you’re sure to master career fair in no time.

By Priscilla Aceves

7 Tips to Conquer a Difficult Class

Is the pressure mounting? Do you feel like you’re falling behind in a challenge class? Or, maybe you’re already dreading a difficult course next semester?

Don’t panic.

It might feel impossible, but you still have time to catch up and regain your confidence.

Check out our top tips on how you can get back to the head of the class, without sacrificing your sleep or social life (or sanity).

 

Put it in your planner.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in a certain class, you might be tempted to procrastinate on studying the subject. But avoiding the inevitable is one of the worst things you can do. The only way to get back on track with a difficult class is to prioritize it over all your other courses. Schedule time every day to study and work homework problems, and — unless it’s a true emergency — don’t let anything else get in the way.

 

Get to know your professor (and make sure they know you).

Many students view visiting a professor’s office hours as a last resort, but it’s actually one of the best resources at your disposal. Extra time with your professor gives you the chance get your toughest questions answered, and it also shows your professor you’re committed to learning the material. Attending office hours may be intimidating at first, but keep in mind that your professors want you to succeed, and they’re willing to take time out to help you.

 

Show up.

We know — skipping class can be tempting, especially if you feel like you’re already behind. Even if the lectures feel like they’re going over your head, you still gain a ton by attending class. Good attendance will demonstrate to your professor that you’re committed to succeeding, and it’ll give you a chance to meet other students, aka potential study buddies. And showing up is great, but participating is even better. Take notes, ask questions and give yourself the opportunity for the material to eventually click.

 

Start now.

We know you. You’re a researcher, right? You’ve totally read up on all the courses required for your degree plan, and you might have a notoriously difficult course next semester. The good news? You’re already ahead of the game. Plan to get a head start this summer so that come August you won’t feel completely overwhelmed. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the next few months reading the entire textbook, but you could start reviewing the first chapters and attempt some of the homework problems. You’ll feel a lot less anxious about the course if you’re familiar with some of the material by the first day of class.

 

You’re all in this together.

While studying on your own or with a tutor is usually the most productive option, study groups can also be helpful when done right. The key is to make sure everyone stays productive, which means it’s probably a good idea to avoid forming a group with all your closest friends, as you’re likely to get distracted. Instead, reach out to new classmates for study sessions, and take turns explaining class concepts to one another. You can even rent out one of the library or Student Center study rooms for a convenient place to study on campus.

 

Use your resources.

We’re still surprised that some #UHBauer students don’t know this, but you have a great resource on campus with Bauer Tutoring Services, which provides help with statistics, finance, supply chain management and more. And if you’re really in a pinch, a quick consultation with your friend Google can also lead to great video resources for whatever subject you’re having a hard time understanding.

 

Relax. You’ve got this.

Your first instinct when you feel like you’ve fallen behind in an important class might be to panic, or even worse, consider dropping. But stress will only make things more difficult and cloud your judgment. You may still have time to catch up and save your semester. Reach out to friends and mentors for help and encouragement, and keep in mind that even if you do have to drop the course, you can get another chance next semester. For some more inspiration about tackling tough courses, check out our Inside Bauer story about student Adele Tsamo, who offers advice for how anyone can succeed in a difficult course.

By Priscilla Aceves