By Madison Hallett Every procrastinator knows the feeling of staring at a blank document at 2 a.m. “I work best under pressure” is the standard excuse. But, chances are you work just as well when you take your time — you might just not want to. It’s very easy to make excuses to put off studying or finishing your homework. Watching one episode of Game of Thrones will turn into an entire season, and before you know it, your paper’s due in four hours. Here are some tips to make sure that doesn’t happen. 1. Manage your time The best way to manage your time is to make a schedule. Whether you invest in an assignment book, a pocket calendar, or scribble your to-do list on scrap paper, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re keeping track of what needs to be done. Hyper-productivity — jumping around between various tasks — may seem like a good idea, but it will probably just overwhelm you even more. 2. Finish one thing at at time It’s best to channel all of your energy into a single task until it’s complete, then move onto the next. If you’re not sure which task to tackle first, prioritize by what is due first, or which is most important. Making a list of most to least important tasks can help you organize your time properly. 3. Break it down and set goals Setting personal goals is always a great idea, not only for efficiency but also for your self-esteem. Accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself is a great feeling and also helps you to recognize your own abilities and strengths. Not sure where to set your goals? Say you have a ten-page paper due in a week: research the first day, outline the second day, and write two pages for each of the remaining days. This helps to break down the task into smaller, less overwhelming increments — allowing you to reach your goal stress-free with extra editing time to spare. 4. Treat yourself Nobody knows you better than you, so why not give yourself the compliments and rewards you deserve? Giving yourself pep talks, though it may sound weird, is very useful for maintaining self-esteem and confidence while being trapped in the library for hours. And, don’t be afraid to reward yourself for the hard work you’ve put in thus far. Tell yourself that every half hour of work you put in, you’ll give yourself a piece of candy and a ten minute Facebook session. You’ll be surprised at how focused you can become when a piece of candy is on the line. 5. Focus on starting, not finishing The big picture, or entire assignment, can be very overwhelming to think about and can trigger procrastination. Focus on starting the task, don’t worry about finishing it. If you start with the end of a task in mind, you’ll only be counting down the seconds until it is done, and it will feel like it’s dragging on forever. But if you break the task down and work on it step by step, the overwhelming factor will be cut in half. 6. Commitment and motivation kill procrastination Get your head in the game! Don’t you want to finish the assignment so you can go back to watching Netflix? If you psych yourself into thinking you love reading about attachment theories and Freud, then you may actually trick your psyche. Commit yourself to the task at hand and you will find the motivation to push through. Give yourself a reason to be motivated. Set goals! If you stay motivated and are able focus all of your energy into a single task, your assignment will actually get done before the due date. If after all these tips you can’t help but procrastinate, at least make it productive with our Scholarship Match — and check out Our Scholarships for a new procrastination opportunity every month! About the author Madison (Mattie) is a sophomore at Colby-Sawyer College, majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. Very involved in theater and music, her love for piano is almost as strong as her Vermont pride.