Confront Your Looming Deadlines
Study Skills Series: The first Monday of every month, we give timely, practical, and original study skills advice. Timely means it’s especially useful during that month of the school year. Practical means it’s easy to act on. Original means we wrote it ourselves and you can only get it here.F inally, some good news for procrastinators: you’re not really a procrastinator, you’re just using that label as a crutch. Presto, you’re cured.
If you fancy yourself a procrastinator, you’re almost certainly wrong. You’re not a procrastinator, you just find comfort in labeling yourself a procrastinator so that you don’t have to hate yourself for doing a bad job on stuff.
You see your procrastination as a genetic curse rather than a symptom of poor study skills because improving your study skills would require you to do a new kind of work, and who wants more work?
For example, if you procrastinated on studying for a test and didn’t get an A, you can tell yourself that you would have gotten an A if you hadn’t procrastinated, which feels better than admitting that you’ve never had to study before.
Or, if you were up late writing a paper so skimped on planning and editing, you can tell yourself that you would have done better if you had started earlier, when the reality is that you didn’t start earlier because you don’t have experience breaking up a big project into manageable steps.
If you’re not doing something you know you should be doing, it’s almost certainly because you don’t know how to do it. Such uncertainty causes anxiety.
Lucky for you, this affliction has a simple fix: use this awesome To-Do List to keep track of all your schoolwork for the next three weeks. You’ll discover that some things take way less time than you thought they would, so you’ll stop procrastinating on them, and other things take way longer than you thought, so you’ll break them up into smaller steps.
If you don’t believe me that you’re not a procrastinator, read Chapter 7 of This Book Will Not Be on the Test for examples of the only two students I’ve encountered in eight years of teaching study skills who were the real deal.