Survival Guide: Procrastination Edition

Graphic+by+Annalisa+Baranowski+for+the+DePaulia
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Survival Guide: Procrastination Edition

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

Graphic by Annalisa Baranowski for the DePaulia

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It’s that time of the quarter again—finals week at DePaul is just around the corner. As students prepare to take their exams, write their last papers and give their final presentations, procrastination might rear its ugly head and make these tasks seem impossible to complete. It is possible, though, to break those chains and get the work done. Luckily, DePaul has its own resident procrastination expert–Joseph Ferrari, psychology professor and Saint Vincent de Paul professor. He’s an expert in the study of procrastination, and has written and published several works on the topic.

While he wasn’t available for an interview, he helped guide us in the right direction by pointing us towards his book: Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done. In one chapter titled “Academic Procrastination: Why Students Delay, and How It Affects the Rest of Their Lives,” Ferrari lays out some strategies that can help students successfully manage their time:

1. “Be flexible. Interruptions happen – life happens. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly that there isn’t any wiggle room when something suddenly comes up.

2. Schedule time for fun. The advice in this book does not preclude your having fun. You’ve earned it. But schedule the fun activities with a beginning and an end so that they don’t pull you off track

3. Make use of waiting time. Jot down details of difficult concepts on note cards and review them while you stand in line for the train or wait for the dorm washing machine to become available.

4. Be aware of your best time of day. We all work better at some times than at others. For example, I don’t ask my wife anything before nine in the morning, especially if it’s a Saturday. Once you figure out when your ‘peak periods’ are, then you can work more effectively during those times.

4. Make an agreement. Study partners are a great idea. Your partner and you can discuss the priorities ahead of time and decide who is willing to do which chores. Build flexibility into your schedule, though, in case someone needs to cancel for an emergency. The point is, find doers to work with and not folks who merely want a chat session.