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Time Management Tips

This guide offers time management and productivity tips to help you succeed at MCC.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Guess what? You are not lazy! We procrastinate for a host of reasons, but laziness is rarely one of them. Here are a few reasons why we procrastinate:

Instant gratification: Research shows that humans are hard-wired to want immediate results, even if there are sometimes negative consequences. It is better for your productivity and mental health to slow down. 

Disinterest: Working up the motivation to complete a task we have little interest in can be difficult. In these instances, it is easy to find excuses or work on other tasks. Teaching yourself to power through tasks that hold little to no interest for you can be an invaluable life skill. Start by breaking up projects into small, manageable steps. 

Perfectionism: Often times, perfectionists set unrealistic goals and then delay due to a fear of failure. Recent studies have shown that individuals who strive for perfection often times achieve less than those who set more realistic goals for themselves. 

Self doubt: We sometimes delay starting a task simply because we don't feel confident in our abilities. Don't be afraid to try something new and ask for help if you need it. Don't forget to tell yourself, "I can do this!"

Poor planning: It's very easy to underestimate how long it might take to complete a task. To combat this, try starting a project earlier than you think you need to. 

Mental Health: Procrastination can be connected to many mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and more. This is why it is really important to explore the reasons why you procrastina and find solutions that work for YOU. What works for one person may not work for another. Check out the links below to find out more about the connections between procrastination and mental health. 

Remember, there are many reasons why we procrastinate. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but instead provide some of the most common reasons. Procrastination is personal for everyone, which is why it is important to explore the reasons why you do it and find ways to implement strategies that work for YOU. 

Want to find out reasons why you might be procrastinating? Try the Why You're Procrastinating Quiz

Tips for Beating Procrastination

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

  1. Specific--What do you want to accomplish? You should be asking the "w" questions (who, what, where, when, why).
  2. Measurable--How will you measure your project's success? How will you know when you've accomplished your goal?
  3. Achievable--Set yourself up for success by establishing realistic goals. Have you given yourself enough time to complete your project?
  4. Relevant--Is your goal important to you? Does it meet the criteria for your assignment?
  5. Time-bound--Focus on a concrete deadline. Set smaller, short-term deadlines to keep yourself on track.

Minimize Distractions

Did you know, on average, it takes around 20 minutes to get back on track once you are distracted? Try these techniques to stop distractions before they start:

  1. Turn off your phone! This doesn't have to mean literally powering down your phone. Block distracting apps and turn off unnecessary notifications during study time. Leave your phone in your bag or put it upside down on your desk so you can't easily see the screen.
  2. Distance yourself from social media by scheduling downtime from checking your social media accounts.
  3. Block distracting websites during study time. Anti-distraction apps can help keep you from going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. 
  4. Find a quiet study space. Some of our biggest distractions can be found at home. The library has distraction-free study spaces readily available for you!
  5. Take care of yourself. If you are having an especially difficult time concentrating, it might mean your brain is telling you it needs a break. Be sure to take breaks often so you don't become stressed and overwhelmed. 

Need help overcoming distractions? Try using a distraction blocking app like the ones below!