The Art of Studying Smart

Most of the world tends to look down upon the idea of procrastination with a frown. She’s lazy. She’s not responsible. She doesn’t have a work ethic. My view of this concept is slightly different. I wish I could slip back into my elementary school days as a model student, but I’m barely learning yesterday’s content by the time tomorrow rolls around. My stress levels and recent academic performance, on the other hand, tell an entirely different story. Procrastination might not be for everyone—some people need rigid schedules for their personal sanity and success, and these individuals should be held in high regard. For the rest of us: if we learn how to properly procrastinate, we could have all the success and time in the world. In fact, there are three simple steps to embracing the art: always keeping the task in the back of your head, being able to self-discipline when it’s time to work, and knowing your personal capabilities and limits. 

First Thoughts

The most important step when it comes to procrastinating is having some sort of general plan buried amongst the bustling body of your brain. Usually, upon hearing about an assignment, I’m quick to brush it away. I start thinking about how spectacular it’s going to be not worrying about this petty task until the night before or, for the extremists of us, the morning of. However, what has really worked for me in the past is immediately thinking about what I’m going to be doing for this assignment. If it’s an essay, I will try to place my finger on a topic or two. If it’s a major project, I will get a general layout in my mind. Note that in no way, shape, or form does this mean you are starting the task at hand in a timely fashion; you can still keep your “street cred” as an avid procrastinator. You are simply creating a safety net, pushed far into the depths of your thoughts, to allow yourself some extra time. 

In Focus

The next key to properly procrastinating is mentally and physically setting yourself up for what I call “grind time.” It’s a mode of extreme focus and self-discipline which usually kicks in around the eleventh hour. In order to accomplish this setting, you must limit your distractions when it’s finally time to work—meaning minimal usage of social media and no wandering thoughts. What helps me the most during this time is putting on some upbeat music and keeping my phone miles away from me. I’m able to just sit down and not leave the task at hand until I’ve completed some mediocre job. Then, I go back over my work and revise it until it’s an assignment that I’m proud of. It allows you to not only reach your potential when it comes to the assignment but also accomplish it quickly and painlessly.

Know Thyself

Lastly, throughout the entire process, you should have a sense of self-awareness. This means knowing when it is finally time to start working and being conscious of the consequences of waiting too long. The concept of procrastination is slightly different for everyone. There are so many factors that can affect your work and deadlines: personal schedules, personal problems, personalities, and more. The keyword here is person.  So when attempting to embrace the art, make sure you know your limits before procrastination begins affecting the quality of work and, more importantly, your well-being. 

These three tips and a great deal of experience can mold you into the perfect procrastinator. Simply put, remember to make an immediate plan, have a focus gear in your mind, and be self-aware. Again, the art is not for everybody—maybe it’s not for you! But if you see us procrastinators as lazy or irresponsible or lacking in work ethic, take a minute to appreciate and admire the mental strength and skill it takes to craft such exquisite tasks in so little time. If it is for you, mastering these steps will go a great distance in bringing success and composure into your life. And remember: when in doubt, just do it tomorrow.

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