How to stop procrastinating and start studying

Jul 8, 2020Anxiety, Information, Stress

How to stop procrastinating and start studying

Woman procrastinating

Whether you need to study for an exam or a test studying can feel like the last thing that you want to do. And that makes you feel anxious. But the harder you tell yourself that you must do it the more you seem to do something else.

There always seems to be something else that seems more important. Or you sit down and start studying and your mind goes blank or you get distracted and go on to divert to another task. This is procrastination.

What is procrastination

Procrastination is delaying or postponing something. But when you need to study that doesn’t help because the test or exam is getting nearer.

It’s not laziness. But it is about time-wasting.

Procrastination is about avoidance and denial. It’s common and regularly seen with people who need to study. It’s linked to motivational theory and the pleasure principals. Procrastination is an activity that happens in the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that involves attention.

But one study by Abramowski (2010) found that not all procrastination is bad as it can give you time to think and pay attention to important ideas.

People don’t intentionally procrastinate.

Why do we procrastinate?

We usually procrastinate because we are perfectionists and want to have high standards. Also if you are suffering from stress and anxiety or other health issues it makes it harder to focus on what you need to do.

How can we reduce procrastination and anxiety?

The main way to take control of the situation is to relax, prepare and ask for help if needed. if you have low mood and have been feeling anxious for more than a few weeks you should see your doctor for a check-up.

Here are some tips.

25 ways to make studying easier

  1. Aim high but also accept that it will take time
  2. Make a plan or study timetable
  3. Get a balance between study time and relaxation
  4. Understand how you learn best and use a variety of ways to study
  5. Stretch before studying
  6. Listen to relaxing music
  7. Consider your environment. Is it too messy, noisy and do you feel comfortable there?
  8. Take notes as you study
  9. Eat a well-balanced diet
  10. Get a good routine with plenty of sleep
  11. Practice with old exam papers
  12. Get a study buddy and discuss the work together
  13. Find creative ways to remember. E.g. draw the answer.
  14. Recap about an hour before you go to bed and make a few bullet points so you get the information on paper and out of your head to sleep
  15. Use pneumonics
  16. Understand that studying is about quality, not quantity
  17. Practice relaxation. E.g. Mindfulness, meditation, self-hypnosis, sport, dance, yoga etc.
  18. Use coloured pens to highlight key concepts
  19. Teach someone else the things you need to remember
  20. Take 10 mins in the day to recap what you have learnt so far
  21. Find an incentive
  22. Imagine what success looks like
  23. Use the Pomodormo method for timing study i.e. study for 25 mins have a 5 min break then study for 25 mins again.  Set a timer so you know how long you have been studying. Remember to have meal breaks.
  24. Keep a clear mind- don’t drink alcohol or drink lots of coffee when studying
  25. Ask for help if you need it

Where can I get help to study?

The first step is always to discuss any difficulties with your teacher. Schools, colleges and universities all know about the anxieties and struggles that students have that results in procrastination.

Talk to other students, family and friends.

Get psychological help from a counsellor or hypnotherapist. It’s not weak to ask for help, in fact, it’s a sensible thing to do.

Awaken the Change provides online and face to face help for stress, anxiety and procrastination.


Awaken the Change is about Focusing Minds for Positive Results

Awaken the Change is a self-help service providing education and information.

Linda sees clients at her practice in Bournemouth, in the UK. She is also happy to provide online help via webcam for hypnotherapy, counselling and supervision. Counselling and supervision can also be provided by telephone.

Linda is an accredited trainer and supervisor.

Linda Witchell
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