Procrastination is a highly common occurrence amongst students, and it can have serious consequences – whether that’s on the work itself or your mental health/stress levels.
We want to try and help any students out there who’re struggling with procrastination during their dissertation writing. So, we’re going to look at the impacts of putting off your work.
Before I start waffling on and enabling you to procrastinate further, let’s get right into it.
Results of Procrastination
Increase in Stress Levels
Mental health and stress are some of the toughest challenges facing students today.
While putting off your dissertation can be a result of mental health struggles – such as depression or overwhelming stress or anxiety – it can also cause further emotional stress.
It’s tricky to find a balance.
I understand that it may be hard to find the drive to work, but it’s also crucial to find some form of motivation before you end up in an even more difficult situation.
If you experience intense stress or a decline in your mental health, we recommend discussing with your GP or a suitable member of staff at your institution.
For advice on finding the drive to work, we have a blog that focuses on using the 5 W’s to improve your mind-frame motivation.
Lower Quality of Work
By rushing your work to get it completed in time for the deadline, you’ll end up producing a final piece of a much lower quality than your ability should allow.
This quality dip could be due to a variety of reasons:
Forgetting to include vital points
Not spending enough time on proof-reading
Writing ‘easier’ sections as opposed to the most relevant and thought-provoking
Lack of focus due to rushing, or if you’re staying up late to complete your dissertation, tiredness.
Whatever the reason, there’s a high possibility of receiving lower marks, or even grades if you’re less lucky.
In the very worst situation, you might not even manage to finish your work!
Imagine the last-minute rush of making your dissertation look completed, even if you know you’ve missed out on some vital points you know you wanted to include.
Yes, maybe you can make it appear as though you finished it, but you’ll know.
You’ll be kicking yourself for ages over it!
It would also inevitably impact the quality of the work.
Consequently, you’d also experience the implications described above.
How To Avoid It
Set Rewards at Specific Goals
This only works if you manage to stick to it.
Set yourself various ‘checkpoints’ and reward yourself for each one you reach.
For example, you get to take a 10-minute break for every 500 words you write.
Or, you can use alternative rewards, such as putting £1 in a jar for every hour you spend on your work. Once you’ve submitted your dissertation, you can use the money you’ve earned to treat yourself to something you want, not something you need.
If you have a printed draft copy of your dissertation, you could put a chocolate bar or other sweet treat between every five pages or so. Once you’ve finished reviewing those pages, you get the reward.
Giving yourself something to look forward to at the end of each section will encourage you to push through to get the reward.
If you work better against time constraints, give yourself ‘deadlines’ for different elements.
Make yourself a time plan and stick to it.
For example, set timers of alternating times and give a goal for them. Here is an example:
- 20 Minutes – 500 Words
- 10 Minutes – Break
- 15 Minutes – 400 Words
- 10 Minutes – Review
- 5 Minutes – Break
Focus on reaching the goals at the set times and sticking to it as strictly as possible.
If you manage to keep to the timers, you may find that you feel as though you complete the work faster.
In addition to this, breaking the work into smaller chunks makes it feel less daunting.
Would you prefer to be asked to write one 8,000 word essay in a month or a 500-word essay every two days for a month?
The smaller chunks seem to make it a much more achievable task, which is why this method is effective.
Invest in a Phone Jail
I understand why this can sound like an odd solution that you shouldn’t need as an adult, but if it works, then why not?
I can guarantee that the majority of students who’ve ever procrastinated have done so by using their phones at one time or another.
As much as I hate to admit it, I know I do.
It’s easy to have just a quick look, which then turns into a lengthy spell of scrolling, watching, and playing games.
The easiest solution?
Just lock the phone away!
Either purchase a timed phone jail or hand the key to someone trustworthy if it’s a locked one.
You can’t be distracted by a screen that you can’t even access.
Have Another Reliable Person in The Room
Do you feel as though no matter how you try and motivate yourself, you can’t stay focused?
Have another person in the room with you to keep you on track.
Don’t choose someone who you know you’ll be able to distract because you’ll end up talking and defeating the whole purpose of having someone there.
Have someone you know will be strict with you and not allow you to procrastinate.
You may feel like you’re back in high school, but if that’s what it takes, that’s what you have to do.
Take These Tips
Let’s be perfectly honest.
If you’re reading this, it’s most likely because you already are procrastinating, and you want to prove to yourself you shouldn’t be.
Get yourself focused on your dissertation, and go and start getting in the zone.
Usually, I’d ask you to let us know how useful you found this blog. However, I know that would give you an excuse to procrastinate further.
So, come back after you’ve finished your work to leave a comment on whether you found this advice helpful.
Don’t worry. You’ve got this!