Avoiding procrastination in a technology filled world is really hard. Especially now that classes are becoming more internet based. A reader asked me about my best tips for avoiding study pitfalls like spending too much time on social media networking sites like Facebook. I am not the pillar of non-procrastination, I mean check out my 50 Ways to Procrastinate Post and most of those things I really did. I mean I actually climbed a mountain to procrastinate. I am literally afraid of heights, and I climbed a mountain to procrastinate! So obviously this is me just helping out the best I can so hopefully these tips do help you.
If You Can, Print Off The Work You Need To Do Online
It’s so easy to open up the document for your lab report, stare at it, and call it work. If you don’t have to submit your work online or type it out, print it out and do the work in the outside world. I read a lot for class and a lot of times the articles are shared online. Even though it's a huge waste of paper I usually print my articles out so that I am not staring at my articles, I can actually hold and highlight my articles, and so that I am not watching a YouTube video or browsing Facebook updates and calling it work.
Apps are dangerous
I know it is really awesome to have applications at your beck and call, but they are really dangerous when it comes to studying. I am not saying that you have to get rid of your apps for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I am telling you to be careful of them. They can make even your most intense study session a failure because you are playing on your phone instead of working on your homework.
So, what can you do about this. You can use your phone as a timer. A lot of people suggest that when studying you use the Pomodoro Technique. Essentially with this technique you do work in about 25 minute increments. Use your phone to set this timer so that you know you can't touch your phone until that timer goes off. If the timer is on and you are using your phone to browse Pinterest you are not being using your Pomodoro time to the best of it's ability.
Make your computer password extremely complicated
Everyone knows that new passwords suck. Obviously write your password down (and maybe have a friend hold on to it.) Unless you have photographic memory this will probably keep you from logging into your computer for a while.
Have a study group with some serious learners
Study groups are like an academic Facebook in real life. Get a group with some people you genuinely enjoy to be around and you can check each other and keep each other on task and away from the dangers of Facebook and Instagram.
Know that breaks are okay
Breaks if taken the right way are great for your mental and physical health. If the breaks are coming every five minutes though—you have to re-think your situation. Taking a stretch break for every thirty minutes or a social media break for every 45 minutes of work you do is a-okay! The reason that I adore The Pomodoro Technique so much is that it programs breaks into the structure of your study time. You have to understand that our brains don't work for extreme periods of time anymore, so structure your study time in a way that makes sense for who you are as a learner.
Remember that the updates will be there when you get finished studying
Your Facebook will more than likely have the same updates on it when you get to Facebook after your study session. Plus, there is something to be said about not knowing every detail of your friends lives. You can think of it as a mystery and awesome not to know what that annoying Facebook girl is doing the entire time you are studying.
Try a site blocker
There are a ton of cool websites and applications that allow you to block certain sites on your computer if you happen to need to work on homework on your computer. You can program it to block those pesky sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even Tumblr (so sad!) There are apps such as Self Control for Mac which is free. Others can probably be found but I didn’t have enough time to look into it all. Do your research and I am sure you will find some awesome sites.
Keep a planner and update it often
I know you are wondering how this will help you. Here’s how: If you see your planner staring back at you with five million things to do it will scare you into wanting to get things done. If you don’t really keep a planner or at least a to-do list you will never realize all the work you have to do.
Get things done during the time when social media is least updated
If the updates on your Facebook page are the most sparse from 6-8AM or 9-11PM get your work done then. If the updates are few and far between you will be more bored with looking at Facebook than distracted by it. If your Facebook is desert at 2AM don’t make this an excuse to stay up late. Just do all your work in a time of day that is reasonable and when your friends update less.
Trust in your ability to get down to business
I know it’s hard for anyone to say no to a good procrastination trip to Pinterest world that turns into a trip to Hobby Lobby but you can do it. Trust in your ability to get things done when they need to get done even if you don’t think you are all that great at doing it.
Thanks to xochrissymariexo for the awesome question about social media procrastination. To my readers, if you guys ever need any questions answered I will gladly listen and give any advice I can possibly give to help you out!