Do we enjoy our academic assignments hanging like the sword of Damocles over us? If such type of masochists exists, I am sure it is a very small group. Then why do so many students postpone writing their essays? There are several reasons for that. The most frequent ones are unpleasant tasks, setting up overly demanding standards (perfectionism), lack of knowledge and confusion around the objectives. These obstacles are counterproductive and can hardly inspire you to be more creative and focused.
It means it is in your best interest to avoid procrastination and get job done before it is time to panic.
Although some people claim, they need a kick of urgency to be more productive, it usually results in low-quality work performance. For example, it was documented that students who have a habit of leaving things until the last minute get lower grades. It is obvious that the lack of time will not make you a superman or a superwoman that can sort out tons of information with a speed of light, analyze and structure it properly.
So how to get rid of essay writing procrastination?
You have to develop a good habit of finishing this task without making it a bigger deal than it is. It does not mean you do not have to do your best – it is quite the opposite. If you do not feel under pressure, you can be much more creative and make smarter conclusions. You have to understand that you will have tons of similar assignments and you cannot waste so much mental energy on each of them.
1. Always set a deadline (not the real one) before getting started
Make a commitment to finish your essay at least a day before the real deadline, but the sooner the better. It will be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.
2. Find a good place for productive work
Look for comfortable place where you will not be easily distracted, so you know where to go when you get a new task. Get used to it, so your mood can be automatically set up for studying. It can be your room, but it is better to go somewhere else, where it would be impossible to watch Netflix, chat with friends, etc.
3. Practice your writing skills
Write even more than you have to. It does not mean you have to ask for more assignments. However, the more you write the more your brain gets used to structuring your thoughts. You can create your own blog, for example, or even practice your skills helping other students and make extra money. Practice makes perfect.
4. Write down all the steps you need to go through to write your essay
It has to include:
Before starting your essay, you have to find and read relevant sources. Of course, you need to cite them, but remember about the five-consecutive-word plagiarism rule. If you take five or more consecutive words from another author, you must cite them as a quotation.
Plagiarism is not about words only. You cannot just rewrite someone else’s work for your essay. If you mention someone’s ideas, even rephrased, make sure you name their author.
And when you read, highlight everything you are going to use in your work so you do not have to get back to the text you have already read.
- Developing the essay structure
Without a plan, you cannot structure your thoughts in a way that someone else can easily understand what you want to say. First, write the thesis statement. It should not be long. One or two sentences would be enough. Then you can think what you are going to write in each paragraph to explain the main point. Copy and paste all the quotations you have chosen accordingly.
- Adding some flesh to your essay
Write your own thoughts and construct complete sentences to fill up the paragraphs. Make sure all your thoughts are the logical consequence of the previous ones. Do not leave contextual gaps in your text. Add facts, observations, explanations and examples. Rearrange the paragraphs if needed. Do not forget to write a concluding paragraph.
- Editing your essay
It is better to do it after a little rest, so you can look at your work with fresh eyes. Look through your text several times and correct grammar mistakes. You may also want to rephrase sentences, but do not get carried away.
Try reading your essay out loud. It helps to notice even more parts you’d like to change.
5. Come up with the rewards and sanctions system
Rewards and sanctions system is helpful when it comes to fighting essay writing procrastination. After you complete any step mentioned below, reward yourself with something tasty, for example. Or, penalize yourself with something you do not like for deviations from the plan.
If you do not know how to actually get started…
Divide the task into several smaller pieces. It is far more easier to start working when you see that it does not take much time to get results. Besides, you can use the Pomodoro technique and break the work process into 10-25 minutes intervals separated by short breaks.