As you’re about to finish your summer course or internship, there’s one thing that’s usually hard to resist: procrastination.
Oh, how easy it is to fall into the “do-it-later” mode.
But when there are fewer than five hours left until your exam or assignment is due, having finished little to nothing, you need to cram and cram well. It makes sense that people say you’re actually more productive as a procrastinator.
Procrastination takes practice. Frankly, you’re not going to be able to pull an all-nighter and still manage to stay awake in class the next morning if you’ve never done it before — even knowing that you don’t have much time to finish the task. But if you know you can stay up all night, you also know it can be hard to beat the all-nighter blues.
For those times when you need to work quickly and efficiently — as a result of procrastination or not — follow this guide.
Get out of your room
Especially if you’re living with a roommate, doing anything productive in your room can be difficult. There’s almost an obligation to not completely ignore him or her, taking yet another percentage — however small — away from your concentration. Even when your roommate is not in the room, distractions such as food, a TV, your cellphone and even your bed, can still get in the way. Try moving to a different location to increase your efficiency and concentration. More often than not, going to the library helps you be more productive, especially motivated by the urge to leave more quickly.
How you dress really does affect your performance, according to a 2012 Northeastern University study. If you insist on staying in your room or even if you head out to the library, dress a little nicer or wear tighter-fitting clothing. Wearing nicer clothing can boost your mood, confidence and attentiveness, while looser clothing may suggest a more relaxed attitude.
Unplug your laptop
If your laptop’s battery isn’t dead yet, why not set a deadline by unplugging your laptop and working until the battery runs out? It provides some motivation, and you’re less tempted to watch that YouTube video or browse your Facebook friend’s 200+ photo album. While you’re at it, silence or turn off your phone, unless you’re using one of these iPhone apps to help you study.
Block Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
While some of the more tech-savvy students can’t help but deactivate a site-blocker before their deadline, browser add-ons and apps like Google Chrome Concentrate can be effective in making you productive. Set a deadline for yourself, and the sites you choose to be blocked will stay that way until that deadline. Check out more of Google Chrome’s productivity apps.
Set your priorities
Warning: Treat this option as a last resort. If you end up in an extreme time crunch, where you have multiple assignments on your hands without enough time to complete them all, prioritize. This means that you may be forced to leave the less-important assignments incomplete. When you know you can’t finish everything you wanted to, don’t try. By spreading yourself too thin, you’re likely to end up with less-than-stellar results.
“One of the biggest things to understand, though we can physically do many things at one time, multitasking decreases productivity by over 40%,” Jennifer Furrier, organizing expert and owner of Essential Organizing of Phoenix and Scottsdale, told USA TODAY. Instead, concentrate on finishing the most important assignments to the best of your ability.
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