March Q&A: Procrastination, Start Studying Early, Academic Jealousy

Trying to overcome procrastination, develop a study routine or overcome academic jealousy? Check out this month's Q&A on Students Toolbox!

Starting from March, I will be doing a monthly Q&A and I will answer all the questions I have collected this month. This month, I will be answering questions on procrastination, jealousy and everything about my study routine.

If you are interested in being featured in these monthly Q&As, feel free to send your questions to me!

You can ask me everything about your struggles, or things you wish to improve on, or just anything that comes into your mind regarding studying, productivity and organization. I am happy to answer your questions!

Now let’s get to the questions, shall we?

“I am currently facing this major problem of procrastinating my studies, and when I sit down to study, I’m distracted. Also, sometimes I think of my colleagues and feel demotivated at their success, and feel unwilling to study.” – Aishwarya

Procrastination is one thing that I get asked from most of my readers. When you subscribe to us, I would ask what struggles you face the most, and many would tell me that it’s procrastination.

I just posted an article on Boost Your Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique + Daily Task Planner – this is a perfect way that would help me overcome procrastination and remove distractions.

By breaking down studying into 25-minute work sessions, studying is no longer one big task that I need to complete. It doesn’t feel as intimidating anymore. I would trick myself that I would just do one study session (i.e. 25 minutes), but once I get started, I can easily continue studying. That helps prevent me from procrastinating.

The Pomodoro method also requires you to completely focus for 25 minutes – that’s almost the time when your attention span lasts. So when you have this strong desire to use your phone, you can look at the timer and tell yourself that there are just 10 minutes left. This would help to motivate you and prevent you from being distracted.

I shall answer your second part of the question in the question below, but if you are looking for motivation tips, here’s one great article for you: Top 7 Tips to Stay Motivated and Avoid Procrastination.

“I am looking for studying advice to start early.” – Bryan

There aren’t many tips I can give you on this, but then as you look into your class you would find out that there are people who study way earlier (and don’t struggle as much as exam’s here), while others just frantically start studying almost by the end of the semester.

Why is that? How can you be the ones who study early?

My answer is to have a plan right at the start of the semester. A lot of people have the misconception that the start of the semester is usually the days when you don’t have to do anything since there are no assignments at all.

Well, that’s true, if you don’t mind pulling a lot of all-nighters when deadlines and exams approach.

I’ve written a post on 8 Things Every Student Should Do During Syllabus Week. In this post, I talked about 8 things you need to in the syllabus week that is going to prepare you for a successful semester. You can also read 10 Ways to Prepare for a Successful Academic Year.

By having a plan, you will constantly look at your planner and think about how you can stay ahead of your schedule by completing the assignments and study tasks first.

This is a habit you need to build. I suggest the first thing you can do now is to list out all the exams and assignments you have in the coming months and start drafting a study plan now.

Then, tell yourself that you need to complete the things as planned because once you procrastinate, it will be very difficult to catch up.

By always reminding yourself of the urgency to work on the tasks, you will see improvement and that you can gradually start studying early and get ahead of others.

“Do you have any tips for someone who struggles with academic jealousy? I used to be so supportive of other people’s success, but now I find myself almost hating other people when they’re successful and I’m not.” – 

The comparison is one of the worst negative things that comes with our human nature. Almost all of us know that comparing yourself to others is bad, but when you got your results of an assignment you can’t help but want to know the grades of others. When you got a grade that’s not as high as your friends, you can’t help be feel sad and demotivated.

You may even be wondering “I am smarter and more hardworking than her, how come I got a poorer grade?”

I know, because I’ve been there as well. I still am, but now I try to consciously suppress this kind of negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

What I recommend you do is to focus on your own improvement and development. I know it’s difficult to ask you to stop comparing yourself with others, but that’s what you need to do. Whenever you feel there’s a pang of jealousy rising up, you tell yourself that you should be proud of her and think about how you can improve yourself.

Instead of feeling jealous, try to think what’s some good things she does that contribute to her success. Instead of asking “How come I don’t succeed the way she does?”, change that question into “what can I do to improve myself and succeed?”

“How do you feel about missing classes?” – 

I am guilty of skipping classes as well. I think, once you are in college and university, you get the freedom to choose whether you want to attend classes or not, and you should bear your own consequences.

I wouldn’t advocate skipping classes (I know that some people who blog on studying do that, telling you that it’s a waste of time to go to class). What I would say is, make the decision based on your learning style, the requirement of the course (whether you have an exam or need to write an essay on that topic), and the teaching style of the lecturer.

Generally, I think even though the lecturer isn’t particularly engaging or interesting, it’s still worthwhile to just sit there and listen to what he has to talk about. You never know if he talks about the exam, or if what he talks about inspires you or clears some of your confusion.

“How do you study (where, when, tips…) and also what is your morning routine ?” – sstudyenv

My study routine

I’d like to think I vary a lot in terms of study location, but now that I think about it, I honestly don’t really have a preference. I just study anywhere that allows me to focus. I normally best focus in quiet areas so I do prefer studying at home (at my desk). But if I have some free time outside, I wouldn’t mind studying in my university library, or Starbucks.

One thing that helps me a lot is that I use the Pomodoro method whenever I study. While I can easily focus when I blog or work, my mind just goes all over the place if I don’t have a Pomodoro app with me (I use Focus Keeper). I use the app even when I am studying at a cafe (and everyone around me probably feel stressed out by the timer, but I mean, I really need to work so…).

I generally study on the weekends. I have so many commitments during the week (school, internship, blogging, etc.) that I can’t seem to find time to studying during the week. I do have day offs on Friday though, so I can spend two full days studying (but that’s generally not the case).

Oh, I also study on my commute. This honestly is a lifesaver. Not only can I focus better, I can also get quite a few things off my list and so I don’t have to spend extra time working on them at home. I use the app Document 5 to read my readings when going to work/university.

My morning routine

You can take a look at my morning routine here: How to Have a Bright and Productive Morning. This is my ideal routine. If I am in a rush, I will just get ready, have breakfast while reading some new blog posts, and go to school while listening to a podcast.

“What do you use to create your blog custom images?” – Anonymous

I use Affinity Designer for my blog custom images.

That’s it for this month’s Q&A! If you have a question, please let me know by submitting your question here! I look forward to answering your questions next month!

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