Today everybody, I would like to talk to you about a serious problem I once suffered from. I know there are many out there who too suffer from this problem, and I would like to take this time to tell you my story about an addiction I had to a serious substance:
But I don’t just want to tell you my story; I want to help all of my fellow procrastinators out there who struggle with this affliction, too. And so I have put together the eight steps of over-coming procrastination, and getting through exam block.
But first, my story.
It usually started with a thought process similar to this:
“Ok. Here we go. Exam block is here. And this time it’s going to be different! I’m going to be organized, prepared and disciplined! There will be order and feng shui coming out the ying-yang, and everything will be colour coded, EVERYTHING!! I will NOT get distracted this time! I am in control! I shall turn off my wifi and open my text book…right after I finish this episode of Ghost Whisperer.”
Aaaaaand so exam block begins for another semester. Now, I know what you’re all thinking; how could someone as wise, as studious, and as perfect as me succumb to the enticing grip of procrastination? Surely by my third year of university study I would have become a professional exam-blocker and would be able to resist such peasantry temptations.
If anything, over time I became a professional procrastinator.
I once procrastinated so hard that I ended up singing karaoke with my mates at an empty tavern instead of doing my assignments.
It was about the time I reached the second verse of Don’t Stop Believing that I realized I had a problem. And while I looked out at my mates, belting that final “wooaaaooOOHHHHHH!!!” instead of typing up my self-evaluation essay, I knew it was time for a change.
Procrastination is difficult, and overcoming it was hard, but looking back I could see how much better and brighter my future is without it in my life.
And so here are my eight steps to over come procrastination, and to get though exam block.
Step one: Admitting you have a problem.
Although it may not take a wild night of karaoke to come to this realization, everyone has to take the leap and admit that their exams really ARE close, and that procrastination has taken over.
If you find yourself cleaning every corner of your house, or baking every kind of cake you can possible imagine, or have suddenly decided that THIS week is the week to start learning how to be a rodeo clown- then yes, you probably have a problem with procrastination, and it’s time to move on to step two.
Step two: Looking at the bigger picture.
What you want to do is try to re-ignite your passion for study. Just like a relationship that’s going a little stale, you need to zap your attitude towards study in the passion microwave and re-freshen your love for your degree. (And yes, I did paraphrase from a “re-kindle your love life” book for that one.)
Remember that very first moment when you found out that you’d made it into your degree? How awesome did that feel!?!?! The butterflies in the stomach just before the QTAC page FINALLY loaded, and then the squeals of celebration after reading the first line. (Don’t even try to deny that you reacted that way because I know you all did!!)
Remember thinking that your whole future had just started? Those fantasies that ran through your mind of how this degree had brought you one step closer to owning your own company, or building your own buildings, or directing your own films.
Remember that day? That was a great day.
And although today, as you stress-eat your way through an entire packet of Tim-Tams and click over to the next episode of One Tree Hill, mightn’t be as great- remember what you’re aiming for.
Step three: Making the decision to dedicate the next few weeks to study.
What you need to do at this point is get into full-on hibernation mode. That means making no new social plans until all of your exams are over and your assignments are in, and trying to cut back on other work, too.
Another thing you could do is turn off your internet for 30 minutes at a time, study hard-out for that half an hour and then have a break for social media time, because we all know how important it is to catch up on how our mates are coping with exam block, to compare their stress to yours, and to read up on some funny exam/study memes.
Step four: Telling people you have a problem.
When it comes to getting through exams and dealing with procrastination, the more people you tell, the more they’ll understand and be able to get you through it.
It may seem unbelievable, but you don’t have to go through exams alone. You can either get together with other students and study together, or get a family member to help you out, or anyone willing to help out. For example, one of my friends studies in trimesters so we always have exams on at different times. So what we do to help each other out is supervise each other’s studying. Whenever one of us gets distracted, the other one creeps up and yells out “KEEP STUDYING!!” and we have no choice but to get back to it.
Step five: Taking things slow and steady.
Studying for exams is more like a marathon than a sprint…I think…to be honest I was never very good at sport. Anyway, I know from experience that it’s better to pace yourself rather than cram.
Step six: Adjusting your lifestyle (for the next few weeks).
Let’s be honest right now, during exam block, you’re not out to look good- you’re not even aiming to look human. Because you’re not socializing, you’re not working as much, and you’re only really leaving your room to get food. So as I list off the perfect food and exercise régime for exam block, keep in mind that you should only stick to this during exams- not forever. Let me show you why:
When it comes exam block food, you want stuff that’s easily accessible and simple to make. This includes Oreos, two-minute noodles, baked beans, any form of potato chips- pretty much anything that comes in a packet, box or can. However if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, you could even smash out a frozen meal- but be warned, the point of sticking to easy-to-make foods is to avoid any possible procrastination sneaking back into your routine. You may say to yourself “I’ll just cook a simple steak and veggies” and the next thing you know you’ve bought your own cow, slaughtered and prepared it, and have now started your own butchers business- simply so you don’t have to study for your Social Communications exam.
Also, you want to be as comfortable as possible; if you can attach pillows to your entire body- do it. As I said, exam time is not a beauty contest (and in my opinion, if you’ve ever listened to a lot of what the people who enter beauty contests actually say, then you’d understand why a person should prioritize studying over spending time trying to look as good as possible.)
Step seven: Getting creative.
One of the reasons why people procrastinate (in my experience-so, according to…me) is due to the fear of facing the dreaded flash-cards and boring textbooks. Now, first of all textbooks and flash-cards can be fun…for some people. But if that’s not really your thing, then you could try sticking colourful post-it notes with study notes on them on the outside of a glass shower, or the back of your toilet door. That way you’ll be looking at your notes at least three times a day.
You could also send your friends your study notes, and get them to randomly text you with pop quizzes. Annoying? Yes. Helpful? Mostly.
Step eight: Sticking to it.
This is the hardest step, because in the end it’s really up to you. Kicking the procrastination habit is tough, but once you’ve done it, and you’ve got yourself into the exam-hibernation mode with your pillow suit and your Oreos, you might as well go all the way and study hard!
Studying is not always easy, but I promise you that it’s always worth it in the end. Now stop reading my blog and get to it!