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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How To Stop Study Procrastination (And Cause House Fires)

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Any good student has been there at least one time in their life. At first they're thinking, “I have to start studying,” until their stubborn brain kicks in and gives them a list of potential excuses to pick from.

Some people procrastinate by thinking they have something significantly more important to do. While they should be studying, they realize there is a show they want to watch on television or a party that they can't afford to miss. Don't have this excuse? Don't worry there is a whole list of others you can pick from.

If you don't have anything better to do then one of your best options for procrastinating is pretending that you're trying to study better by procrastinating. Instead of saying there is something more important to do, say that studying is too important to try to do in the moment. Maybe you're not in the mindset for studying. Maybe your roommates are making noise. Anything works. Now you can't study as good as you could later. Congratulations, you have your excuse.

Bare in mind, these are just wild excuses your brain uses to try and convince you to avoid the pain of studying. Studying can be difficult. If you're studying right then there is a very good chance your brain wont want to do it (unless you happen to be curious.) There are a few simple things you can do to stop study procrastination. That being said, if you're getting to the point that you have these thoughts, you've probably already lost the battle...

There are ways that you can stop study procrastination from ever rearing its ugly head.

Habitual Study

Getting yourself to study is tough. It requires a ton of discipline if you're not already in the habit. Every time you try and force yourself to study you're going to need to muscle down all those excuses that will be popping up. The best way to ease the pain of getting into studying is to make it a habit.

When you're in the habit of studying, your brain doesn't have time to make up excuses for not studying. If, after class, everyday, the first thing you do is pick up your textbook to study, within a few weeks, you're going to be buried in study material by the time you come up with excuses. When you're already studying, you're bound to knock back those excuses like they're nothing.

Sure, habitual study has its challenges. You're going to need to maintain that habit through the busy times and the slow times but it's advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. In fact, after learning habitual studying, most student get to cut their study time in half.

Habitual studying means less cramming is required. Using smaller lengths of time for studying, you're able to remember more of the information faster. Now, you won't always have the luxury of a habit to pull yourself out of procrastination. When you don't have the habit, there are a few things you can do to make your life easier.

No Think Start Up

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This is a study strategy that's based on the advantages of habits. It can work like a charm for some people but it tends to be a bit of a hit and a miss for others. Instead of the regular back and forth your brain has between studying and excuses, with the no think start up, you're going to want to stop the back and forth completely.

When you first realize that it's a time you planned on studying, focus on not thinking until you're into the study material. At that point, ignore everything else in the world and pick up a textbook. (The house fire can wait till later to be put out... For legal purposes: That is a joke.) The point is not to perfectly blank your mind. The point is to not give any credence to doubts you have.

You don't just realize there is something more important to do when you procrastinate. When you come up with some excuse, you need to back it up with a list of good reasons in your brain. The goal of the no think start up is to prevent that list from building. Your brain will be fighting for excuses, give those excuses no chance to become real in your mind.

Your studying has been set and treat it like stone. You can't change it. Anything important that comes up must wait. The faster you're able to get into studying, the better off you'll be.

This can be one of the most effective ways to build a habit. That's mostly what this should be used for. There is another trick that works better for those that can't quite clear their head.

The Honest Approach

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This approach to studying isn't as effective for developing strong habits but it can get you to study when you need it most. Whenever you start to hear your excuses to procrastinate studying, you need to stop yourself and ask a simple question. Do I want to study?

Forget about all the excuses you have. You don't need them. You don't have to study if you don't want to study. Tell yourself that and follow through with it. Just force yourself not to lie with pointless procrastination.

What happens then?

Most people lie at first. I know... You probably don't... but most people do.

Most people say, “I want to study... but...”

That's probably a lie. Look at whatever excuse you're making carefully and either prove it to be a lie or accept that you shouldn't be studying. You might think, “I could study better if I did it later.” That's probably a lie. You might also think, “I left the stove on...” that might be a legitimate excuse. (That explains the house fire I mentioned earlier.)

If you admit that you don't want to study then you're probably being honest. At that point, don't study until you want to study. The funny thing about this is, most students end up studying 5 minutes after they decide not to study. You don't have to do anything you don't want to but most students quickly realize they want to pass the test, they want to learn some of it, and they want to have the habits of studying.

If you want to study and don't have any excuses then doing it just comes naturally.

There is an old joke about procrastination that tend to ring true for the way many people deal with procrastinating. It's the last piece of advice I'll provide because in most cases, this can end up being all that you need to break the pattern of procrastination.

Every time you're thinking of procrastinating, just put it off. Procrastinate your procrastination. You'll have plenty of time to slack off tomorrow but today you're going to study.

While this holds very little weight, thinking it can help your brain get back into a positive pattern of thinking. Try it out sometime.

To get the grades you're looking for, you can't afford to have procrastination getting in your way. Until you're able to stop study procrastination and keep it out of your mind, you're not going to be doing as well as you could be. While you can probably get by, if you're the type student that reads this, that's definitely not enough.

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