We've all been there: the big deadline is just hours away, and the clock is ticking. But even thought time is running out, we put off writing essays until the last minute panic sets in. This behavior is known as procrastination.

Hi, 5 tips on how to stop procrastinating and finish your degree

We have all been there: there is an important task at hand and we do everything in our power to avoid it by doing literally anything else. This is known as procrastination. This behavior can be especially troublesome when we are struggling to finish that pesky degree. Hopefully these tips will help you along the way.

In English  | 

Text Marcelo Goldmann

Kuvat Marko Heikkinen

Make a list

Start by making a list of all the things that you need to finish your degree. List the courses you need to complete, how many other ECTS you have to obtain, and your thesis. Next step is setting up priorities to each entry on your list. Mark with ‘A’ the entries that are important and urgent, mark with ‘B’ those that are urgent but not that important, mark ‘C’ those that are important but not urgent, and finally ‘D’ for those things that can still wait. This is a way to prioritize your time and effort. First do the A’s then the B’s and so on.

If the priority of any of the items on your list changes, be sure to update it. And once you have completed a task, make sure to scratch it out. This will give you a sense of accomplishment which will make you feel good about your progress.

 

Set reasonable goals

Let’s be realistic: You are not going to write 10 pages of your thesis every day, so making unreasonable goals will be detrimental to your progress. Instead, keep achievable goals that you are sure can be completed at your normal pace. Extra tip: Put them on a list so you can visualize them.

 

Carrot and stick

Carrot and stick refers to using reward and punishment as motivators. In this case, I recommend you only use the carrot (the reward). Give yourself rewards for your progress. If you write several pages of your thesis, reward yourself with your favourite TV show or a nice walk outside. Maybe there’s a pair of running shoes you really want, with which you could reward yourself if you get really good grades during an academic year.

 

Put down the phone

I know, I know. The internet will explode if you are not there sharing the latest meme and liking that cute picture of a kitten doing a backflip. However, neither of those things will help you finish your degree. Treat your degree like you would your boyfriend or girlfriend: give them your undivided attention when you are with them.

I’m not saying that you should quit social media cold turkey. However, when you are studying or writing your thesis, you could try to keep the social media distraction away and save it for break times.

 

Do it for you

You should be your own number one fan and be compassionate with yourself but also somewhat strict. What would you do if you had a friend who you cared about very much and they were struggling to finish their degree? You would likely want to motivate them and tell them that you know they are capable of doing it. Do that for yourself.

Instead of thinking that you won’t make it or won’t make it on time, tell yourself (out loud or in your mind) that you can do it, that you are capable, and that you will finish your degree.

Published 15.5.2018

Marcelo Goldmann

A doctoral student in chemical engineering at the University of Oulu. "Life is like a rubber duck, you gotta keep it afloat to see its splendor." Instagram: @sekultamies

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