Do you have an important exam to take? If you want to get the best grade possible, you need to spend time studying for it. However, you may be known for procrastinating and waiting until the last-minute to try to review everything you have learned. There are plenty of easy ways to keep yourself motivated so you can avoid the procrastination this time around.
1. Create a List of Reasons You Need to Study
The exact reason you need to study will depend on the type of exam you are taking. For example, you may need to receive a passing grade to receive a certification for something you want to do, such as nursing or cosmetology. One way to keep yourself as motivated as possible is to create a list of all the good reasons you should sit down, open up your textbooks and start reviewing the material.
Make sure your list contains at least 10 different good reasons and then hang it up in an area where you will notice it. If you spend a lot of time in your bedroom, simply hang the list right up on the mirror in your room. You could put it on the fridge or on the door to your apartment/home too. It is important to put it in the right spot to constantly remind yourself of what you need to do and why you need to do it.
2. Give Yourself a Reward for Reaching Milestones
Set a few milestones for yourself while you are studying. Some good ideas for milestones include:
-Read through five textbook pages
-Review flashcards for 30 minutes
-Give yourself a quiz on what you have read
Each time you reach a milestone, give yourself a small reward. You could eat a piece of your favorite chocolate, listen to three or four of your favorite songs in a row and then get right back to business. Small treats keep you motivated so you can continue studying for as long as you need to.
3. Come Up With a Schedule
Some people struggle to study because it feels like they never have enough spare time. If you tend to feel that way, it is time to start scheduling your study time. Create a schedule that works around the activities and tasks you have to do. If you are good at multi-tasking, you may even be able to squeeze studying in with some of your other activities.
As an example, you can review flashcards while walking on the treadmill. You can still spend time with your friends, but ask them to give you a pop quiz or help you review your flashcards for at least 30-45 minutes before you end up doing something fun. If you switch it up a bit, it is much easier to stay motivated.
The only way for most people to do well on exams is to study as much as possible. If you are struggling to stay motivated, try some of these different tips because they just might help you.
In a world that is becoming increasingly digital and going really fast, it is becoming ever harder to keep track of your life.
“WHAT?” I hear you say! “I have a diary and a calendar on my phone, together with a time management system, a list of my favourite groceries on the local supermarket site, a reminder set up for things like feeding the dog and picking up the laundry and an emergency system set up for child care / elder care / pet care / watering the garden if I can’t be there. I also have a set of sticky notes on my computer screen to keep track of those important one off items. What more do I need?”
But is all of that together? Is it in one place, where you can easily access it and see EVERYTHING in one place?
Maybe digital isn’t always the best, unless you have something very complex (and expensive) created especially for you and even then it might not suit you or be flexible enough to cope with changes.
The Bullet Journal is described as a type of analog system: that is, it is NOT digital. It’s a journal that YOU design for YOU. It can track your past, organize your present and then plan well for your personal future. The system allows you to keep records on everything that is important to you in your life. You can use your journal for the purpose of an idea catcher, task manager, sketchbook journal and so much more. You can be as scientific or artistic, logical, minimalist, or whimsical doodler as you wish, with different styles for different things at different times.
Take a look at a bullet journal being created.
What You Will Need To Get Started On Your Own Bullet Journal
The first aspect you will need to consider is why you are motivated to start a Bullet Journal. The majority of those who use a Bullet Journal do so because the system is flexible and allows them to operate the journal the way they like to work and because they see a system that will help them achieve what they most want.
It is for this reason that you should think about how you would like this system to work in your life before you begin. You also need to think about how you will access your journal. I keep mine at home on my desk but I am there a lot of the time, so I use a large A4 size journal. You may be out and about a lot, at work, taking photographs, travelling, or just out chatting, in which case you may prefer something smaller, that you can pop in a pocket or a bag. It needs to be something that will work for YOU and YOUR lifestyle, needs and wants. Below are some tips to get you started.
To be honest, just about any pen or notebook will suffice. My preference is for plain paper but if you would like to start with a journal that is already set-up with an Index and the page numbers, a good choice would be the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, in whichever size suits you best. This notebook features an archival quality that allows you to keep what you have entered into the notebook safe and the writing doesn’t usually show through onto the other side (but you can use a page near the back to check all your pens, to see). The pages have a grid of dots on them, so you can draw straight lines, both horizontally and vertically if that is important to you but there is also plenty of space without feeling constrained by ready-printed lines.
The only other tool you need is a pen (or even a pencil). Many people like to use gel pens or colored pencils, some even use water color paints! But to start out, you only need a pen. You may also like to get some washi tape which is an attractive self adhesive product that you can use to decorate your pages or stick things in with.
How to Start
One good way to view a Bullet Journal is to think of it as a framework that you can move around and change to suit you, to help you organize your present and plan for your future, as well as motivate you to add or remove habits you want to change and helping you create a vision of things you want to do. For instance, you might want to lose weight, get more exercise, plan a holiday, or a bathroom remodel, learn a language, plan for a mountain climbing expedition, design a new gizmo or improve your intuition. The framework uses modules and these modules are the methods that help you organize the different areas of your life, as well as keep your ideas for your next novel, scientific project, personal achievements or great painting. One of the advantages to a Bullet Journal will be that you can mix and match modules that will suit your needs; and design or get ideas for keeping up your motivation. The four main modules suggested for beginners include your Index, Your Future Log, Your Monthly Log and Your Daily Log.
Dedicate the first 3 to 4 pages of your journal to your Index. As you begin to use the journal add topics into your Collections with the page number in your Index. In this way you can easily find and reference any topic.
The Future Log
This particular Collection can be used to store your items that are scheduled for a year or months in advance, or perhaps things you would like to tackle one day. The Future Log can be set up by graphing pages according to the number of months you need. For example 2 equally-spaced lines that run in a horizontal line across two facing pages can be used to create a 6 month calendar.
The Monthly Log
This log assists you in organizing one month at a time. To set up this log use two facing pages. The left hand side page will be called the Calendar page while the Right will be your Task page. Use the left hand side to number all the days in the month and the right hand side to schedule your tasks and events for those days.
The Daily Log
This log is for day-to-day use. The top of a page can feature a date. Throughout the day log Tasks, Events or Notes as they arise. Try not to set up Daily Logs too far into the future, but rather create them as the day progresses.
This gives you a start on creating your own bullet journal. I hope you enjoy setting it up and using it.
Is this what people tell you? You’re not committed, you’re not listening, you’re plain lazy? I got all of those, oh, maybe not in those particular words but I knew I was a disappointment to many people. Is this you too? Maybe you keep losing jobs or borrowing money “just one more time”. It’s not too late. You CAN do something about it, if you want. Do you want to change those people’s views about you?
Do You Relate To This?
Have you ever found your mind wandering at school, at college, at work? Maybe you find it hard to concentrate on any one thing? I suffered from this in school. I was constantly being told off for daydreaming and I found it really hard to listen to the teacher, complete my homework or to study for exams. I just could not stay focused on any one task and often the view out of the window was much more intriguing!
Not Reaching Full Potential
All my school reports talk about not performing as well in exams as I did in class and any subject that required a bit of thought and application, such as maths? Forget it!
They Thought I Was Lazy
They all thought I was lazy, so did I. I couldn’t understand why and how I couldn’t do the work. I knew I was as smart as my classmates. My parents would have loved to have seen me do well, they would even have rewarded me financially for it but nothing worked. My classmates told me their parents just told them to “do their best” and they did, mine were constantly disappointed because they knew that what I produced was not the best they thought me capable of. But I just couldn’t get focused on getting the work done. On the other hand, I spent hours in the library, reading fiction and books on all sorts of subjects, which had nothing to do with what I was supposed to be focusing on. I was brought up in the days before the Internet, with parents who believed in “early to bed”. I used to spend the dying hours of daylight hidden behind the bedroom curtains (ruining my eyesight) reading any books available, including medical texts and biology books but they didn’t have anything to do with my subjects at school!
Searching For An Answer
I have been looking for an answer to this for over 50 years! I struggled through a bachelor’s degree and swore I would NEVER read a textbook again. It took me 10 years before I managed to even try an evening class in tourist Spanish and gave up after 3 sessions. But then computers started coming in and I had always wanted to use a computer. This was in the days before the first PC! I managed to struggle through 3 years of evening classes and got a qualification as a junior programmer – I have NEVER used it.
How to Stay Focused
I recently found a program that has actually helped me stay focused on what I want to do. It’s not cheap but I have learned so much from it that I believe it is well worth the price, so I am letting you know about it too. The cost is probably less than some of my friends would pay for a good night out!
Worse Than Me?
It is produced by a man who was worse than me! I didn’t believe that was possible but he explains how he lost so many jobs, he had to end up borrowing the rent money from his mother. His program told me why I was like this and the explanation made sense. It also showed me the reason why, using a great analogy that totally clicked with me and he then told me how to get this to work FOR me and gave me strategies for getting things done. I have now done a lot more of the things I WANT and NEED to do since getting this program, including finally finishing my education!
I have been on many courses in my life and found that if you could get two or three new ideas from them, then attending the course was worth the time and money. Just from the ideas and the understanding I gained, this course has been WELL worth the money and a LOT less expensive than many of those all day or all week courses I went on years ago. I currently have one of his tips sitting on the wall beside me as I write this, to keep me focused.
Get The Program In Ways That Suit YOU
The program is provided in several ways, so you can access it in the way that best suits you. You can get it on videos, as PDFs or as MP3s. All these methods are available to you, you can use them all, mix and match or listen or watch only the ones that suit you. He also provides workbooks for you to work through his ideas and get them to suit you. These are important. They don’t take long to do but they help consolidate what you will learn and understand so you can apply these methods and ideas. There is also support available, which some people make great use of because they may be social learners.
One last thing. The man who produced this program made a sales video about it. I don’t like videos because I am a fast reader but his video was so compelling, and meant to much to me in terms of how he went through exactly the same and worse than me, that I listened for the full 30 minutes, probably a record for me! You can get this program here. Thanks for reading.
Addiction to certain substances has long been recognized but now foodaddiction, including sugar addiction, is being seen as a serious problem too. It is thought that the reward centers of the brain are activated when we eat something we perceive as a reward or a comfort in the same way an addictive drug activates that part of the brain.
The kinds of foods we are usually addicted to are high fat and high sugar foods which are bad news for weight and health.
Signs that you are addicted to food:
Eating in secret or covering up what you eat
Seeing foods as good or bad
Feeling guilt or shame over your eating habits
Focusing on food all the time
Feeling as though you can’t control your eating
If you recognize two or more of these behaviors in yourself you are likely addicted to food!
So how can we treat this addiction?
Traditional recovery programs for alcohol and substance abuse recovery
These advocate completely giving up the addictive substance. Everything in moderation does not work for this kind of problem! Truthfully figure out which foods are ‘trigger’ foods for you, then you need to remove them completely. This means not buying them, not even having them in the house – not even for anyone else, and also avoiding places you would traditionally consume the foods (like fast food restaurants).
Learn how to eat ‘mindfully’.
This means focusing on what you are eating and how it makes you feel. That might mean not eating in front of the TV, at a desk while working, or while wandering around town. Take time to sit down and enjoy your food.
Replace your trigger foods with alternatives that you enjoy.
Too often we are too strict. If you try to replace your chocolate bar with a bowl of lettuce you will likely fail. But if you love strawberries or dried apricots or exotic fruits like mango these will still satisfy you. Make small changes first. Take time to learn about healthy eating – not dieting but consuming foods for optimal health. You could follow bloggers or subscribe to a magazine. The more you know, the easier it is to make those changes.
Learn coping strategies.
This could include learning to go for a walk when you feel stressed or anxious, or phoning a friend to talk about your bad day instead of reaching for the chocolate. Reading a book, going to an exercise class, taking up meditation – find what works for you.
Seek professional help.
It may turn out that your addiction is so deeply ingrained that you need more help. Doctors can refer you to certain therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, or you could get a book out of the library. Not everyone can afford private therapy but it is a possibility for some. And some people try hypnosis. You can find a hypnotist near you or try some of the programs you can find on line.
A former colleague told me a story one time about a friend of his, a school teacher, who left school early on the last day of the school year to buy wallpaper and paste, so he could decorate a room in his house at a leisurely pace over the summer holidays. Two months later, on the last day before term started, he was rushing to start and finish the job! An example of procrastination at its finest?
Of course, he is not the only one. There are many examples of this type of procrastination and once you have sighed and blushed over these, I will give you Just One tip on how to avoid being one of these stories.
A recent study was run on “procrastination in schools” and the results were remarkable. Over 90% of students suffer from procrastination whether it involves tests, assignments, or exams. This tends to get worse as they grow older and does not fade away. This is often known as “student syndrome”, where the project has been given plenty of time for preparation, so the student puts off starting because they have “plenty of time” but of course, that time slips away. There is a book written for procrastinators in upper school and College for writing essays and even pulling an overnighter but you will need to know the material, unless it is a pure conjectural or fiction type of essay. I wish I had known about this book when I was in school but the author wasn’t even born then. It’s an excellent book and will only take about 2 hours to go through. You can even download it to a Kindle so you can get stuck in straight away. I have read it and used it during my doctoral studies but it is also useful for school pupils writing essays. It is called “Don’t Panic: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing an Effective Term Paper” by Steven Posusta.
There are a select few who can overcome this problem and continue to improve as students. The rest struggle and these bad habits continue even into academic life. Some academics in University seldom publish papers in journals (as they are required to do), they just don’t “get round to it”. There is a useful book available for them too, on writing a journal article in 12 weeks, based on a paper or essay they have already written, no matter how poor. Again, this is an extremely useful book but is aimed at academic journal articles in all fields. This book is called “Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success” by Wendy Belcher.
Biggest examples of procrastination?
Does it happen elsewhere? You KNOW it does!
Let’s take a peek at a few more stories.
1) Work Assignments
There is no better example than the employee with a major presentation coming up, and who delays preparing for it. After all, in the US, people are said to be more frightened of speaking in public than of death! You might feel comfortable about your knowledge on the topic and prefer to put off preparing. This happens all the time because people don’t want to do the work. You might know the topic, but is that a good reason to delay preparing? What if there are hitches along the way? Procrastination could lead to serious trouble, and it often does. Remember that old adage – To fail to Prepare is to Prepare to Fail.
Cleaning is another example of procrastination at its finest. People might have spring cleaning around the corner or just a general day where the rooms have to be vacuumed, and the dusting has to be done. Well, they will delay it to a point where the house is a mess, and it is hard to move around. The same goes for those who leave the dishes to the end of the night rather than doing them along the way. This leads to a pile of dirty dishes no one wants to look at.
There is a “Just One” tip below to help with this.
Ever felt like a person was bullying you? What about those were not doing their end of the bargain on a group project? It happens all the time, and certain people put off tackling it because they feel it will turn into confrontation and those repercussions can require further attention which frightens them, so they deny it is happening.
What To Do?
These are all examples of procrastination at its finest. There is a lot of risk attached to putting things off for so long, and it is rarely the right option. So what can you do?
My preferred option is doing “Just One” and I apply it to everything where I am likely to procrastinate. Just One, means exactly that. If I am procrastinating on putting the laundry away, I tell myself, “Just one item” or sometimes “just one minute”. I put away one item as I pass the laundry drier on the upper landing, even if it is only a hanky. It’s only one item BUT, it’s done, it’s away and I can do another one next time I pass. If it’s an essay, then “Just One” might mean “one minute”. I can pin a piece of paper to my noticeboard and write down 5 questions about the subject in that one minute. If someone is not pulling their weight on a project, I ask them for one minute of their time and say what I am doing, then ask for their comments. There is no confrontation and because the intervention happens with plenty of time before the project is due, it gives them a chance to overcome THEIR procrastination.
When you are confronted with a big task that you don’t know where to start, Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, just do something, JUST ONE. You will feel freer and an awful lot better. That dread in the pit of your stomach will start to lift and you will see a way through to completing it. Maybe not right away but you will find that path towards completion.
Carrying Through a Long Project
If you need to carry through a long project with several steps, you may find this new post on how to stop procrastinating helpful. It includes a visual tool for comparing what you have done with what still is left to do and because you stick it up somewhere you will see it every day, it provides a visual reminder of the undone project, rather like a Daruma doll, only it shows you what steps to take.
Do you tend to procrastinate at work or when studying? Some people think they are being lazy when they find other activities to do instead of what they should be doing or that they feel they should be doing. Procrastination is putting off doing a particular job instead of just getting it done but there can be many reasons for this. Sometimes it’s boredom or dislike of routine jobs like washing dishes or cleaning the car but for many people, the job they are trying to do is just too hard or they don’t know how to go about it.
What is Procrastination?
Do you find yourself surfing the internet, playing a game or watching TV when you should be studying? Maybe you take a few more trips to the water cooler or the coffee machine or stay longer in the canteen instead of writing that report or getting out those figures? Maybe the dishes get done instead of the pile of ironing, or hanging a picture on the wall instead of decorating the spare room? That is procrastination – putting off doing something – avoiding it.
Sometimes it’s really hard
Not doing the dishes or washing the car may often be down to boredom but not studying for an exam or writing a big report may be because you simply don’t know how to do it or even how to get started. In work, often people think this kind of stuff was learned in school but that’s not always necessarily so. If you have a really big and hard job to do, then here are five tips to help you stop procrastinating and seeing yourself as lazy:
1. Get a Break Away.
If you are feeling very bad about this piece of work, whether it’s a report or studying, then sitting mulling over it or playing games instead of getting on with it won’t help. Take 5 minutes, half an hour, half a day or whatever you need to calm your feelings down. Sometimes time pressures won’t allow a long break but even 20 minutes kicking leaves under a tree in the park or even sitting in the peace of the nearest toilet cubicle can give you time to regroup your strength and deal with your feelings of anger, despair, fear or whatever.The break does NOT include sitting on the computer or other avoidance tactics. This is time to allow you to deal with feelings about this piece of work.
2. Find Support.
The best support is having someone to listen who will not interrupt or judge you. If you don’t have a close friend, then phone someone. If you really do not have anyone to talk to about this, then write down your thoughts in a journal. There are even online journals where you can write anonymously and no one will see it. Talk (or write or scribble or draw) about the problem. It’s fine to grumble about the people involved, the short timescale, the difficulties involved but NOT to be negative about yourself. You are NOT lazy or stupid. If you want to say something about yourself, then couch it in terms such as “I don’t YET know how to start on this”. You would be best to bin or burn any document like this after you finish it. You will have got rid of your negative feelings and you don’t need to re-energise them.
3. Make a checklist.
If you have terms of reference for a report or a feedback list of things to do or an item to study up on for a test, then draw up your own list of baby steps towards getting it done. Don’t use someone else’s list. I find the best way is to have 3 columns on a piece of paper, one for the list of baby steps and the other two columns to show what I have done and any extra work arising from that. I generally colour in the steps I have taken in green and the new steps that arise from that in red until I do those too, then I do those in green too. Seeing a list of checkmarks or green lines is motivating because it shows I am moving on with the work.
4. Ask For Help.
If making your checklist seems too difficult, then it’s time to ask for help, direction or support from the person who set you the task. They may not realise that the task is as difficult as it seems to you or they may have been unclear in their direction. It’s better to ask for direction while you still have time to complete the task, rather than complain you couldn’t do it when it’s already too late to do something about it.
5. Rebuild Your Passion.
If you are doing this for yourself, it’s much easier to work on it. Do you want to do well in your job, get an exam, be qualified to do a job you want? Then develop your passion for the job or the study. Work out WHY you want to do this in the first place. And remember, it’s always for YOU, even if someone else pushed you towards the goal in the first place. If you do not want this goal, then find the one you DO want and use these tips to reach that instead.
Now I have procrastinated long enough – time to get back to my checklist of baby steps and tick a few more off the list!
If you are a procrastinator and find it hard to motivate yourself to start that project or get a piece of work done then these 8 top tips can help.
Look at what needs to be done and ask yourself why you are doing it? Think of all the positive reasons for getting the job at hand started and what the end goal is. You should be able to come up with a few answers to motivate yourself. If you cant think of any answers it night be time to give up on that particular project.
2. CHUNK IT!
A big job can seem daunting but breaking a project down into manageable chunks can help you get started. Set attainable goals and be realistic. Once you’ve broken it down into chunks it can be helpful to get the parts you are dreading done first. This is called delayed gratification. Do the worst parts first then you can enjoy the easier parts without dread.
3. FAKE IT FIRST
Have you heard the phrase ‘fake it to make it’? Try telling yourself you will do just 5 minutes of the job at hand. More often than not once you’ve done the 5 minutes you will be engaged enough to carry on for longer.
It might be helpful to think about what is stopping you. For example is it boredom, fear of failure, tiredness? Trying to sort through your feelings and dealing with them can free you up to get started.
Planning can be key. You are much more likely to start a job if you have everything you need to do the job to hand. Try planning the night before by writing a list of work to be done and laying out everything you need ready to use the next day. For example if you are writing a report make sure you have all the books you need, staionery, computer desk is clear and organised etc.
Get help if possible. Do you really need to do everything yourself or can you delegate or work in partnership? Spreading the work makes things easier and can be more enjoyable.
7. WHAT’s NEW?
Try something new. If you are doing a regular task that you dread try doing it in a different way. Hate mopping the floor? Put loud music on and have a good boogie as you mop. Writing a boring report – can you take a laptop and do it in a nice cafe? Shaking things up a bit can help.
8. STOP PERFECTIONISM!
Give up on perfectionism. Sometimes our quest for perfection stops us even starting. Accept that sometimes it better to get a task done even if its not perfect than to not even try.
Try to implement one or two of these tips and build on that and you should find yourself feeling refreshed and newly motivated, ready for anything and excited to get started!
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