1. Log out of all your social networking / frequently visited sites and shut down your computer if possible (unless you’re doing work that requires the computer).
It’s so easy to find yourself back onto Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc when you’re supposed to be doing your work. Nobody likes doing work, we find ourselves crawling back into comfort. But if you sign out of every social network, when you find yourself back onto them and see the login screen (I bet you’re not used to seeing those anymore, huh?) you will remember that you’re not supposed to be on them at the moment, you’re supposed to be working. It will trigger the alarm in your head to stay on task, tell yourself you’ll reward yourself with 20 minutes of leisure time if you finish your work under X amount of time your work should take you to do, that way you’ll be less desperate to check your commonly visited websites in the middle of your work and go off task.
2. Clean up your workspace.
I have such a hard time with this one, I’m sure some people who like to keep things neat all the time have such an easier time than I do. It’s easy to just throw your paper all over your work space, but when it starts to get cluttered up you really don’t feel like doing work. So before you start, clean up your work space so you have plenty of room on your desk, it will make starting the work much easier, I promise.
3. Take a 20 minute hot shower (or cold shower if it’s during the summer when it’s extremely hot).
Even if you’re one of those people who showers in the morning; do it. Y can take a quick shower again when the morning comes. After a long day, you really feel exhausted and the thought that you still have more work to do makes you want to crawl into a hole with a blanket and avoid your work. Take the time to take a long relaxing shower, not only will the shower help you relax, it will also help you wake up and feel refreshed and ready to take on your work as if it’s a new day when you just woke up. Taking a nap is dangerous because 1) it wastes more time and 2) it’s harder to wake up once you lay day after a long day. So shower is the fool proof way to go!
4. Give yourself a new deadline.
For most of us it’s so much easier to do work at last minute. You’re driving by the concept that you now literally must focus and finish your work because you really have no time to waste away now. While some of us can once in a while hit the jackpot and do a good job under the pressure at the last minute, it’s really just not an efficient way to go, more often than not you cannot produce the work that demonstrates your best ability when you do it at the last minute no matter how much you convince yourself you can.
So the second you get an assignment, give yourself a new deadline with plenty of time before the real deadline, and forget about the actual deadline, finish your work before your new deadline, then take a break from your work, come back to it a few days, look over it when you have a fresh set of mind, look over your work again and make revisions and improve (you always have room for revision, especially after just one time through). The best way to do this is to set up an appointment with your teacher or professor to go over your work before it’s actually due. This way, not only will you be forced to finish your work ahead of time so you have something to work with when you go in for your appointment, you will also be getting input from the person who will be grading that assignment. Slam those two birds with one stone.
5. Stop saying “this is too hard” and start saying, “If other people can pull it off, so can I.”
Mindset is the key to everything. If you tell yourself something is beyond your ability, you will automatically give up even though you might still physically make the attempt, you will most likely already have failed. Tell yourself that you’re just as capable as everyone around you (which you are) and remember that the challenged you are faced with, there are many people who are facing the same challenge and many people in the past had also dealt with it and they pulled through, so can you, you just need to keep that in mind. Of course, sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with too much work. Know your limits; you don’t need to be on top of everything, that’s impossible. Know your priorities.
6. Abandon the 3 – 1 model, embrace the 1 + 0.5 +0.5 model.
You know the triangle diagram that states “sleep, a social life, and a successful career / academics, choose 2? Well, that’s simply wrong, abandon that. Most people often or not will try to choose academics/career + social life and throw sleep out the door. You. Can’t. Do. That. Instead, think of it this way: your social life and your academics/career is on a teeter-totter, sleep is cup filled with water that sits in the middle of the teeter totter. There needs to be right balance between your social life and your academics and career, of course once in a while one might be over the other slightly, but you can’t go on the extreme on either ends, if you do, the cup of water in the middle of the teeter-totter that is sleep will totally spill and there will be a mess up to clean up, now you have to get off both end and clean up and fix your sleep schedule before you can resume with any of them. Find a balance and don’t fuck up your sleep, without sleep, you will most likely not excel in either very much. And keep in mind, when in doubt, academics/career should always be slightly over your social life.