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May 06, 2022 01:06 PM EDT

How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Studies: 5 Helpful Tips


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Whether you're halfway through med school or just starting your GAMSAT prep course, procrastination can be the bane of your student life. Not only does it prevent you from getting the best results out of whatever you were supposed to do, but it ends up eating into your free time.

After all, the time you spend procrastinating is seldom calm and relaxing. It's more often the case that while you are procrastinating you're also kicking yourself for not being productive, just taking the fun out of everything. But the good news is that this is a solvable issue. Here are some ideas you can try to help you stop procrastinating.

1. Understand your goals

Humans don't generally enjoy making sacrifices, and they hate it ,even more, when said sacrifices don't appear to have a reason. So if you want to get yourself motivated and ready to study, you better have a very clear vision of why you are going through the trouble. Understand what the end goal is, and what it will take to get there.

Getting some real-world experience can also be helpful. If you want to be a doctor, for example, watching documentaries of hospital life or shadowing a nurse for a day can give you a great sense of perspective.

2. Organize your schedule

What are you doing, when, and what are the deadlines? A schedule should incorporate these things. Not only because planning is important when tackling complex goals, but also because it's easier to get things done if you don't have to puzzle out what you should do every morning.

A schedule also gives you a clear endpoint for any given day. It's hard to motivate yourself to study in the morning if you have no idea how much there is to get done.

3. Start with the hardest part

On any given day, rank what needs to get done from easiest to hardest and take care of the hardest task first. This will a) allow you to tackle the difficult task before you get tired and b) help motivate you throughout the day. Because once the hardest task is over, everything else will be easier by definition.

If you leave the hardest part for last, the chances that you'll end up procrastinating and leaving it for tomorrow go up tremendously. And that will not only mess up today's output, but tomorrow's as well.

4. Get rid of distractions

Phone notifications are your greatest enemy when you're trying to get work done. It's far too easy for what should have been a quick text message to turn into you spending an hour on your phone when you should be studying, especially if you are struggling to stay focused. So treat your focus like the limited resource it is, and keep your study time as free of external distractions as possible.

5. Plan the breaks too

As mentioned, it's a lot easier to start studying and keep studying when you have an endpoint in mind. That goes for both the long-term endpoint - i.e. your medical school entry Australia - as well as the endpoint of your current study session. So make sure you know when your next break will be by the time you start studying. That will help you stay on track and motivated.

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