Strengthen Your Belief
Prof. Piers Steel of the University of Calgary has found in a ten year study that one of the causes of procrastination is not believing that you can get the work done. When deep down, we believe that we are not good enough, or there is no way we will be able to study everything we need to in the time left, we procrastinate. As a student we might find we are procrastinating more when it comes to the subjects we think we are poor in. For some, it may be math, for others writing, and so on.
To overcome this, go to the meditative level and bring your fears to light. Use the Negative Thoughts meditation to change the negative beliefs about yourself and use autosuggestions, affirmations and goal visualizaion (monchhobi) to build up your confidence in that subject. Do whatever you can, in real life, to improve your abilities in the that area. Accept the fact that you would not want to start work in that area, but you need to.
Study for Yourself, Not Your Parents or Teachers
If we feel like we are forced to do something, we automatically feel a sense of resentment; we do not want to do it. Sometimes, our parents or teachers tell us to study so much that we do not realize we are really studying for ourselves. We feel as if we are forced to study because of them. We become rebellious and express our rebellion by procrastinating in our studies. To overcome this, know why you are studying. Think of how your life will be if you study hard and have good grades, and how it will be if you have poor grades. Then make your choice. When you choose to study for yourself, you will not procrastinate.
Realize that the Hardest Part of an Assignment is to Start
The hardest part of an assignment is to overcome the initial inertia and choose study over pleasure. Most people fail in this initial test of starting. They think, if they wait long enough, motivation will magically appear from somewhere, but it doesn’t. In The Feeling Good Handbook, Burns (1989) writes that the "doing" comes first, and then the motivation. Thus, starting a task is the real motivator.
So just start.Tell yourself, you will not be like other people, you will not fail the first test. Just start. Commit to yourself, no matter how restless you feel, you will keep studying for at least fifteen minutes. Within a short while you will find you are actually enjoying it!
Realize the More You Delay, the Harder It Will be to Start
Procrastination is a vicious cycle. The more you procrastinate, the harder it will be to start because your brain will think it is impossible to study everything in the time available. So start as soon as you can. Avoid the habit of rounding off the time when you plan to sit to study, i.e. thinking ‘It is now 2:17, I will start studying at 2:30.” When you are already late, accept the fact that you will not be able to study everything, prioritize and set realistic goals. This will make it easier to start.
Relax Your Standards
Procrastination is often the result of a gap between the standard you expect from yourself, (or think others expect from you), and what is realistic given your current skill level, and the time and resources available. In that case, relax your standards a little bit. Learn to differentiate between ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ and ‘good enough.’ Accept the fact that all your assignments will not be ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’, but they can be good enough to get you an A+.
Break-up Your Work in Small Chunks
If you think of your work as a complete whole, you are likely to feel overwhelmed and put it off. Break up your work in small chunks and concentrate on the one you want to do now. Reward yourself for finishing it.
Find Out If You Have Fear of Failure or Success
Procrastination can be caused by both fear of failure and fear of success. Often, consciously or unconsciously, we might think that if we fail despite making our best efforts, it will confirm some deep-rooted belief that we are not good enough. If we do not try, at least we can tell ourselves that we failed because we did not try.
On the other hand, procrastination may be caused by fear of success as well. Consciously or subconsciously, you might be scared of the pressure of continuing to do well, or being at the center of attention, which might follow good results. Examine if you have any of these fears in the ‘fear’ meditation, and root them out using the meditation.
Get Used to Studying without a Crisis
Many of us say we cannot study until the last minute. For us, rational methodical studying is ‘boring’. We need the adrenaline rush of the last minute to make studying ‘interesting’.
If this is true for you, think of the price you have had to pay for this habit. The times you could not finish everything or you fell sick during the exam. Also realize, although it might be possible to cram at the last minute at the earlier stages, the more you advance in your studies, the harder it will be. It will be harder for your body to take irregularities in sleep and food.
To counteract the need to stimulate yourself by creating false emergencies, engage in other healthy activities that get your adrenaline running. Try to find out other ways to make your study interesting.
Learn How to Establish Priorities and Say 'No'
Many of us are busy doing so many other things that studying keeps getting postponed. We take on more work than we can handle. Behind this tendency is often the inability to say ‘no’, which in turn is often the result of being too dependent on other people’s approval. If this is true for you use autosuggestion and meditation (such as Hold Your Head High and Fear) to increase your confidence and decrease your dependence on other people’s approval. Think realistically, establish your priorities, and say 'no' when you need to.
Stop Lying To Yourself About How Much Time It Would Take You to Do Something
Procrastinators are usually overly optimistic (or lie to themselves), about how much they can accomplish in the time left. They feel like there is plenty of time. Making schedules force us to look forward and be realistic, because we need to assign times to everything we need to do. Learning to live according to a schedule is a habit that will also help us in many other ways.