Are You a Procrastinator?

I am. Even as a professional I have found that I still procrastinate with some things. In college, my favorite phrase was “I work best under pressure.” The more accurate phrase would have been, “I work under pressure.” I never gave myself the chance to work any other way, so it was impossible for me to say that it was my best work. Sometimes I still think about how much better my work could have been if I had dedicated more time to it. So, thanks to this blog, I can warn you now and help you avoid these same feelings in the future.

All that to say, we’ve found a simple tool to help keep procrastination to a minimum. Or in other words, a tool to help you manage your time better when it comes to big projects and papers. The University of Minnesota created an Assignment Calculator, you input the current date and the date the assignment is due and out comes a step-by-step plan for completing quality work on-time.

It’s genius. Frankly, I wish I had something like this when I was in college. If you select the subject that the assignment is in, it also personalizes links to help get your research started. Not to mention, if you go to the print friendly version, it makes you a to-do list with boxes to check as you move through the steps.

I encourage you to give this tool a try and give your papers and projects the time they deserve! Then let me know what you think in the comments section… And hopefully, we can all work on breaking this bad habit together.

Making the most of your study time

Last week I went to a friend’s house for dinner. We were in the middle of a conversation when she got a text message and proceeded to text a response. Which is fine, but I stopped talking and waited for her to finish. She glanced up mid-text.

“Go ahead. I’m listening.” type type type

No you’re not. You’re texting.”

type type type “What?”

All of us (me included) attempt our own versions of multitasking.  We talk and type, walk and text, toggle between different websites, and entertain interruptions from friends, phones, television, and email. According to researchers, we’re not nearly as good at it as we think.

It’s the start of winter term here at UO, and I’ve been meeting with students whose fall term grades placed them on academic probation. I ask each of them open-ended questions in an attempt to unravel what happened fall term. A response that keeps coming up again and again is:

I studied too much in my res hall room.

Translation: I sat at my desk for a long time, but not much studying happened.

 Res halls are full of distractions – it’s no wonder that some students find it hard to study there. To learn and retain information, you need to be able to focus, and that means working in a place free from distractions. I talked one student who said, “I can’t even study in the lobby of the library. Too many people walk through. All it takes is one person stopping by to chat and I don’t get anything done.” Now she seeks out quiet cubicles on the upper floor.

As you get settled into winter term, take some time to evaluate your own study habits. Where is there room for improvement? For more tips on making the most of your study time, check out the following:

Psudo-work Does Not Equal Work : An eye-opening post from blogger Study Hacks that demonstrates what the best students already know – quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to studying.

Index Study System:  A simple studying method that “forces you to think about (the material), rather than just look over it.”

 Study Skills Resources: Tips from the experts at our very own Teaching and Learning Center! Drop by to seem them at 68 PLC and ask about workshops, classes, and private appointments designed to help you study smarter.