Time management skills
Distractions and procrastination
Sometimes it can be difficult to get down to your studies because you have distractions to deal with, and you may find that you put off a study task. Distractions can be real (e.g. your child needs your attention), but they can also be displacement or replacement activities, or ways of procrastinating in disguise.
Some people say that they need the pressure of a tight deadline to get on with, say, writing an assignment. Ask yourself whether this way of working is really effective or whether it is disguised procrastination. You might find you produce better work under less stress.
Dealing with distractions
- Set realistic goals for your study session (e.g. 'I'll read this section, or work for 40 minutes before I make that coffee')
- Aim to minimise real interruptions (e.g. by putting on your answer phone, or asking friends not to disturb you)
- Remember that it is best to try and have short-term deadlines that you stick to for significant study activities, such as completing an assignment by the cut-off date
- Try not to feel that you need to produce the perfect assignment or project
- Avoid taking on too many commitments - learn to politely say 'no'
- Learn to prioritise your tasks
- Do a deal with yourself - 'Okay, I'll go to the pub with my friend tonight, but this means that I'll need to get up early on Sunday to study instead'.
- Just do it! You may find that the task doesn't take as long as you expected and you'll feel much better for getting it out of the way.