It's coming to that point in the year, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you have 50 million deadlines and exams before you get there. With so much to do and so little time, every second counts. The trick to knuckling down and sailing through the next few weeks is effective time management. For most of us, if there was a college course in procrastination we would pass with straight A's.
Here are our top 10 tips for creating a study plan and avoiding procrastination.
1. Create a comfortable work environment
The first thing you need to ask yourself is how do you study best, in the library or at home. If people keep you motivated and you prefer to be around others to bounce ideas off, create a study group.
2. Set goals
Next step is to set out your goals. Set realistic targets, don't set the bar too high or you will only end up frustrated. Also, ensure your goals are timed to keep procrastinating at bay.
3. Prioritise tasks
If you are starting to feel overwhelmed by your 'Do To List", break it into smaller more manageable chunks. Start your study day by looking at which tasks are the most pressing and arrange your tasks in order of priority, highest to lowest. By applying this method, you might have three tasks to cross of the list and your sole focus is then to complete those tasks.
4. Use an online project management tool
There are a lot of free online project management tools you can use to help with your study plan. One of the best ones is Treelo, it allows you to create boards and manage the tasks you have assigned to yourself. There is something hugely gratifying about dragging a task from "To do" to "Done".
5. Highlight your weaknesses and focus on those areas
We all have a tendency when studying to start with the things we prefer and are more confident with, leaving areas that need more attention to the last minute. Step outside your comfort zone, be aware of your weaknesses and address them first.
6. Take regular breaks
The mind can tend to wander if you're doing the same monotonous tasks for hours on end. Studies on productivity suggest you should take a break 60-90 minutes.
7. Switch of your phone and log out of all social media
Avoid any distractions, as difficult as it is, switch off your phone and only switch on at designated breaks.
8. Test yourself
Test yourself on what you learnt so far through revision questions.
9. Get regular exercise
Incorporate regular exercise into your study plan. You will be amazed at how much a 20-minute jog or gym session can help focus the mind.
10. Stay positive
And most importantly, be kind to yourself and stay positive. A positive mental attitude can work wonders.