I figured I should write this piece because procrastination always seemed to be an area of expertise for me.  You know those times when the teacher says, You have until Sunday to turn in the assignment for full credit, but it’s due on Tuesday.  And you say Oh great, I have to get that done by Tuesday!  Well I was the student who said, Oh no problem!  Sunday is forever away.  What I didn’t really seem to understand was that it’s incredibly stressful trying to get things done at the last minute.  In fact, when assigned a personification paper, I wrote a piece that depicted the way I felt on many nights, here’s an excerpt:

I have minutes until midnight.  I type frantically.  I look back and there it is.  The clock, sneering at my frustration, at my desperate struggle for words.  Each time I look, it acts so innocently, as though it weren’t cheating me at all.  But I know the moment I turn away from it, it begins again to spin its arms leaving me in dire need for more time.  It laughs, taunting me with every tick.  I find myself pinned down in a race with the clock as it so maliciously breathes down my neck, staring and leering over my shoulder.  I fear what it will say at the next glance… I look.  But it’s too late.   The clock smirks as it returns to its usual calm, seemingly innocent nature.  I can just hear it saying, I’ll wait until tomorrow, when we will race again.

In order to help you all avoid feeling as stressed and frustrated as I did, I have come up with some tips that will hopefully help you out!  Feel free to use this advice to your advantage so you don’t have to learn to avoid procrastination the hard way.

Tip 1:  KEEP A CALENDAR!  I made sure that I knew when everything was supposed to be finished and I kept a very organized calendar, monthly for the big goals, weekly for the basic scheduling and looking ahead, and daily for my specific goals.  If I set time limits for myself to have each item accomplished by, I found that I was able to stay on task much better.  If I made a point of following a time line including times for each class, specific assignments and my chores through the day, then I just had to watch my progress and make sure I met them all as I went along.  This allowed me to stay on top of my class work and not fall behind.

This next one is a little interesting, but I think it would have helped me out quite a bit!

Tip 2:  TALK TO YOUR TEACHERS!  If procrastination is as big an issue for you as it was for me, tell your teachers before you actually start the course not to tell you if there’s a grace period, but to enforce the deadlines for you just to push you to at least remain caught up, even if it means you push the time limits that day anyway.  Also, just talk to the teachers so that they know who you are in the work and understand the areas in which you excel and struggle.  Often if you find yourself in a bind, and you contact a teacher with whom you’ve never had contact, they will have a harder time assisting you.  Make sure to establish relationships with your teachers so that they can help.

Tip 3: GETTING AHEAD AND CREDIT RECOVERY! For some of us, running up against a deadline means we realize that we didn’t do as hot as we had expected to do.  For others, it means we want to get ahead.  Either way, there are options for you!  K¹² has some classes that can be taken online during the summer months for high school students!  That’s right!  Get ahead or fix a bad grade right now so you don’t have that holding you back next year!  Talk to a counselor as soon as you can to get this set up and to see what options are available through the school you use.  Remember that these things are great in many ways, they provide a chance to build talents and get a step further along your path as you prepare for college or life after high school.  Credit recovery would allow you to make the necessary repairs for graduation, and getting ahead would allow you to graduate early!

Okay, the last tip might sound like a given, but after years of facing procrastination, I know for a fact that it is just as simple as this… ready?  This will change your life.  Here we go!

Tip 4: KEEPING UP IS FAR EASIER THAN CATCHING UP!  I promise that’s really all there is to it.  I know that this is a rigorous schedule and can be challenging, but it is worth every second of it.  Stay on task and don’t allow yourself to fall even a little bit behind.  Reach every goal every day, and it will be great.  Only when you fall behind will you find yourself truly struggling.  And besides, if you stay on task, you have teacher and peer support if you need it, and you have the necessary time to allow you to do your best work.

Conquering procrastination can be a huge challenge. And though it is hard, it is not impossible to overcome.  It’s more than worth the fight, so give it a shot!  Good luck!

Tiffany Higgins is a graduate of Idaho Virtual Academy and is currently attending Brigham Young University- Idaho, majoring in English. She has joined our team as a summer intern. 

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