How to Avoid Procrastination and Feeling Stressed 24/7

October 27, 2020

Dear Achona,

Even though I’m trying my best to focus in class and work hard, I find myself still being stressed and overwhelmed. Do you have any tips for avoiding procrastination and avoid feeling stressed 24/7?

Dear Anonymous,

As homework, tests, assignments — and not to mention college applications — start to pile up, I can totally relate to feeling stressed, overwhelmed and at times even unmotivated. However, I do have some habits/tips that may help you conquer procrastination and stress, even if just a little. First, get a planner. Without my planner, no joke, I would be lost and probably still in middle school. Yes, many people prefer to write things down digitally, but as Forbes reports, “people who very vividly describe [write] or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t.” In addition, handwriting has cognitive benefits because, as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum, states, “writing letters activated more regions of the brain than typing letters.” You may not think of homework as a goal, but it is a small daily goal. So, moral of the story, write things down. I handwrite to-do lists everyday, and as I cross things off my list, it relieves some of my stress.

I also recommend writing down when assignments are due and the dates of tests/quizzes the moment you know about them — making sure to color coordinate, which makes it easier for me to differentiate between subjects — so that you can plan well in advance. For example, if I have an outline due in a week, I break up the time I spend on it over a few days so that I not only have time to do other homework but also not procrastinate. I have found that this is much less intimidating than attempting to read 30 pages of my textbook and outline all in one day.

Also, if I space out of my time, I have more flexibility in my schedule; for instance, if I am very tired one night after school and sports practice, I can go to bed earlier without having to worry that I have an assignment due tomorrow that I have not completed. I hope these tips help you, but if you were to take away one thing from this let it be the importance of writing a to-do list every night before bed, and also don’t beat yourself up for not getting things down because it is all a learning process.

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