Psychological Self-Help

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From this point, each procrastinator must deal with his/her own unique
emotions, skills, thoughts, and unconscious motives. Below are some
self-help procedures that should be of help to relaxed and tense
But it is possible that you have never learned to organize your time
or simply have been rewarded for putting things off, e.g. someone else
"let you quit assignments" or did your work for you. In this case, if you
want to change, simply stopping the rewards should solve the
procrastination problem. You might want to try this easy approach
first, so I will mention some simple behavioral methods for reducing
this problem. If these methods don't work or don't appeal to you, then
make use of methods given below for the tense or relaxed
Methods for a quick, simple behavioral approach
For perhaps a third of all student procrastinators, a To-Be-Done
List, a daily schedule (chapter 13), and a simple record-keeping and
reward procedure (chapter 11) will do wonders. Changes may occur
immediately; often they start going to the library or some special place
to study with a new friend. I've seen hundreds of students become
more serious and responsible about studying. They experience relief
just going to class more often and being prepared for exams; some
even start to find the material interesting and challenging; they start
working for "A's;" a few actually decide to become dedicated students.
I love to see a good brain be used. Like dieters, though, many find it
hard to maintain their new study habits and backslide within two or
three weeks. 
Most people have to overcome procrastination gradually. Studying,
like drinking, is usually in binges. Almost no one has trouble studying
(a little) the night before a big exam. But without the pressure of an
exam, many students find it easy to forget studying. I'd suggest
breaking big jobs down into manageable tasks and working on "getting
started," perhaps by tricking yourself by saying "I'll just do five
minutes" and then finding out you don't mind working longer than five
minutes. This is called the "five minute plan." The key is to learn the
habit of getting started on a task early, i.e. the procrastinator needs to
learn to initiate well in advance studying and preparing for papers and
exams. Practice starting studying several times every day. As with
exercising, getting in control of starting and making it a routine are
the secrets. 
Some students also find it helpful to keep a journal in which they
record in detail their thoughts and feelings associated with studying.
This helps them see how their fears, excuses, competing needs, and
habits divert attention from studying. Based on this insight they can
devise their own self-talk (will power) to take on scary tasks and do
them promptly. Others ask friends to nag and push them, maybe even
fine them a dollar if they aren't on their way to the library by 7:00
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