Procrastinating about studying is a big struggle for a lot of students (me included). It’s pull is magnetic, intense and relentless.
Studying is hard. Your brain doesn’t like doing hard things. Ergo *hello fancy word*, your brain will try and sabotage you when you try to study. You’ll decide to do anything BUT study – tidy the house, organise your sock drawer, rewrite some notes for no reason…etc.
Add to this that we live in a crazy time of distractions and non-stop notifications and we’ve got a recipe for unproductive, unfocused and, ultimately, shitty studying.
So what can you do about it?
I’ve written a whole blog post on procrastinating about studying with 15 different ways to overcome it. I have an entire online course filled with advice, strategies and printables designed to get you out of procrastination-hell and into productive-heaven.
But, this is all pointless if you don’t actually WANT to stop procrastinating.
What do you mean Chloe, of course I want to stop procrastinating about studying?!
Let me explain what I mean with an example that I’ve been strugggggggling with recently.
I can’t get out of my darn bed without snoozing my alarms many, many times. Just this morning I set my alarm for 06:15 so I had time to do a home yoga session before leaving for work at 07:30. My alarm went off and my sleepy brain immediately snoozed it without a single thought.
Nine minutes later, I snoozed again. Nine minutes later, I snoozed again. Nine minutes later, you guessed it, I snoozed again…
Suddenly it was 07:10 and I had no choice but to ditch my workout and then rush around to leave for work on time.
This happens pretty much every day.
I know this makes no sense. By snoozing my alarm so many times I feel groggy from pushing myself back into sleep, I waste time, I get less sleep, I get to work late which means I have to stay later, I annoy my boyfriend sleeping next to me, I get less work and studying done…
The funny thing is, I KNOW what I need to do to just get up when my alarm goes off.
If I put my phone on the other side of the room, preferably under some clothes (shout out to the floor-drobe), I have to physically get out of bed when my alarm goes off. Then, if I make myself go straight to the bathroom, the hardest part is over. I still don’t like being awake, I would still like to jump back into bed, but when I follow these two steps it’s a lot easier to just start my day.
The problem is, procrastination messes with your brain, skewing your logic. For example, I don’t want to put my phone on the other side of my room before bed because I like scrolling through Instagram before I fall asleep (bad habit I know).
Looking at this now my thinking makes no sense. I’m CHOOSING a quick IG-scroll over allllll of the benefits of getting my ass out of bed on time. It’s only now I have stopped to look at this behaviour that I’m starting to WANT to change.
This process is EXACTLY the same for procrastinating about studying.
You procrastinate over starting your essay because it’s difficult (and much easier to watch Netflix/clean the bathroom/colour code your book collection…etc.). You hate that you leave it until the last possible minute because it’s stressful, you get less sleep, you submit work that’s lower quality and, ultimately, you achieve lower grades than you should.
You know that if you removed distractions, set a non-negotiable start date, or rewarded yourself for submitting with time to spare you would find it easier to get it done. But you don’t do this because you would prefer to procrastinate. You would rather watch back-to-back episodes of Queer Eye. You would rather go for a picnic than stay indoors on a sunny day.
Until you accept this WANT to stay the same and resistance to change – the change can’t happen.
I KNOW how to get up on time but I don’t WANT to implement the strategies that will work. We KNOW how to study productively but we don’t WANT to actually use these methods.
And why is this? Because we simply don’t WANT to give up what we’re doing in order to do the better, good-for-us thing.
I KNOW I should get up but I WANT to stay in bed. We KNOW we should study but we don’t WANT to sacrifice relaxing or get off our phones or laptop.
The first step to change is awareness that you need to change. After this is where a lot of us stop. The second, important step is WANTING to change. WANTING to change means giving up what you’re doing that’s easy, and replacing it with new, harder-at-first actions.
The 7-step I-Don’t-Want-to-Procrastinate-About-Studying-Anymore Process
1. What study problem are you procrastinating about? What goal or habit are you putting off that you know will benefit your studying?
2. What are the dangers of continuing to procrastinate? What is procrastination over X stopping you from doing, being or achieving?
3. What are the benefits of doing the hard thing? What’s on the other side of procrastination?
4. What strategies do you think will work (if you actually do them)?
5. Decide on the 1-2 strategies you’re going to try to kick procrastination to the curb
6. Track your progress for 7 days
7. Reflect, reiterate, then track for a further 21 days if needed.