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Athabasca University

Procrastination, the bug that bites AU students!

by Julia McDonald

Ever been bitten by the “Procrastination Bug”? Its venom causes you to put off or avoid studying or completing assignments. If so, you are not alone! Procrastination has plagued the lives of many AU students at one time or another, some students are chronic sufferers. Casualties of this affliction reported feelings of guilt, increased anxiety and stress, poor performance on exams and assignments, and repeated extensions. If not treated properly, chronic procrastination can lead to low grades, failure, uncompleted courses, suspension of funding, even withdrawal from university.

This menace has afflicted the lives of AU students long enough; inoculate yourself with these remedies:

Do a profit/loss statement. List what you have gained and lost by putting the task off: What do I gain by not studying for my accounting exam? What do I lose? Seeing it in black and white will help you see the benefits in getting it done.

Put it in writing. Make a contract with yourself. Write on an index card that you will complete the assignment by a certain date. Sign it and show it your partner, children, friends, co-workers. They can provide encouragement, even a little nagging to help you get the assignment completed; post the contract in a prominent place as reminder.

Get time wise. Set priorities; do the most important projects first. Break projects into smaller, more manageable sections and set a deadline for each one; be realistic in what you can accomplish. Use to-do lists and schedules. Study in small blocks of time, taking a short break every hour. If you find a task really unpleasant divide, your study time into several twenty minute blocks.

Reward/Celebrate. As you accomplish each task, (e.g. write an outline for a term paper) reward yourself. Spend an hour playing with your kids, watch TV, rent a movie, or take a hot relaxing bath. When you get the paper written, celebrate by treating the family to dinner, to a movie, or just you and your partner go out. Do something fun. You deserve it. You got the job done!

Get help if needed. Contact an AU counsellor for more techniques on overcoming procrastination and other study skill issues.

Updated February 04 2014 by Student & Academic Services

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