• 3-minute read
  • 28th August 2014

How to Stop Procrastinating and Increase Concentration

No matter how close the deadline, sometimes your motivation to read, research, write and edit your paper can dwindle. This can be particularly bad if you’re prone to procrastinating.

The technology that surrounds us in everyday life means that there are endless distractions available. For those of us prone to procrastinating, getting work done can therefore be a challenge.

However, there are also some practical steps you can take to improve the way you work, and therefore the quality of the work you complete. If you’re in the throes of a bout of procrastination and staring a deadline in the face, the following tips might be helpful.

Get Rid of Online Distractions

Even short periods spent on Facebook or Twitter can add up, and you spend more time taking quizzes to find out which Harry Potter character you are than researching your paper. To get rid of temptation online, install a program that blocks certain websites for a specified time. This allows you to work uninterrupted.

Take Regular Breaks

Some research suggests that the average person’s attention span is roughly 8.25 seconds. It’s probably not surprising that we’re so prone to procrastinating, if that is true. Especially since writing an assignment requires concentrating for longer periods.

However, your ability to concentrate for longer periods decreases as you get tired, so regular (planned) breaks are essential. Even a short break of ten minutes every few hours can boost your concentration and efficiency.

Breaks from work are also useful in a more general sense. Once you have completed a draft of a chapter or part of your paper, leave it for twenty-four hours. You will then be able to return to it with fresh eyes, making editing much easier.

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Take Exercise

Exercise taken during the work day can boost concentration, motivation and time management. If possible, fit some form of exercise into your day. A brisk walk at lunchtime will improve not only your health and mood but also your concentration.

Drink Water

Staying well hydrated is vital for cognitive functioning, so concentration can be hindered if you aren’t getting enough fluids. Don’t forget to drink enough throughout the day, as by the time you feel thirsty, your brain power may have decreased by up to 10%.

Create the Perfect Environment

Minor irritations, like an uncomfortable chair or a dim light which forces you to strain your eyes, can contribute to a lack of desire to work. Ensure that your working environment is comfortable and calming so that you can focus on your work.

Know Your Optimal Working Routine

Something which can dramatically reduce procrastination and improve efficiency is working out an optimized working routine. For example, different people work better at different times of day; night owls might get their best work done at midnight, while early birds might have 2,000 words done before 9am! Work to your strengths, but make sure your sleeping pattern is not affected.

What Motivates You?

Sometimes, small rewards can increase motivation and having something tangible to look forward to can spur you on to meet your goals. Knowing you have dinner plans with friends will encourage you to meet your targets for the day.

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