February 18, 2020

“You delay, but time will not,” once said Benjamin Franklin.

That is how Michael Murray, a Student Success Services tutor, started the Brain Flex workshop about procrastination at Conestoga College on Jan. 29.

According to a 2014 study by StudyMode, a network of online learning tools for students, almost 87 per cent of high school and college students are self-proclaimed procrastinators. StudyMode surveyed more than 1,300 students for this specific study.

“Honestly, we’re never going to eliminate this from our lives, right? Procrastination is something that happens even to the people who are the best at time management,” said Murray. “What we want to do is minimize this as much as possible because we know this is a negative thing.”

These are four ways to minimize it.

1. Don’t do work at home.

“I always recommend trying to do most of your schoolwork at school,” said Murray.

According to him, students tend to get distracted at home since that is where they get comfortable. If it is during the weekend, going to a library might also be a good option.

“Just getting out of the home environment, where your TV and all your stuff is, can be very helpful,” he added.

2. Time to put phones away.

“I’m not saying leave your phone at home because I don’t think that’s realistic,” said Murray. “One thing you can do is to have your phone with you, obviously, but you could turn the sound off and have it in your bag.”

According to him, just by having the phone out of reach can help a lot with distraction. If the eyes don’t see it, the brain knows it is not time to use it.

“Remember, we want to work on realistic solutions to this problem … So if it’s in our bag, it’s out of sight,” he added.

3. Prioritize and recognize your strengths (and weaknesses).

During the workshop, Murray said time management is everything when it comes to avoiding procrastination, and to do this correctly, it is important to create a to-do list and prioritize those tasks accordingly.

“When you are planning and prioritizing, think about your strengths,” Murray said.

For example, he said he can basically write an English essay “in his sleep.” However, if he has a math assignment, he needs a lot more time to work on it.

“They’re both just as important, right? But the math one becomes urgent for me,” he said.

4. Make things happen.

According to Murray, it is important to make sure students are always on top of things. So instead of always doing tasks last minute, it is ideal to work on what is important ahead of time.

“This way, we are making things happen, rather than letting things happen to us.”

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