How to avoid procrastination and improve your CAT percentile

Procrastination is the act of postponing things. It is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow, what should have been done the day before yesterday. It is a real problem and has to be solved.  As said by Kabir – “kaal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab….”. You never know what might happen tomorrow. The perfect time to do something is now. We keep on delaying things until tomorrow and, tomorrow never comes. So, here are some tips on what can be done to avoid procrastination and how to give your best.

Things you need to get into your daily routine to minimize procrastination and maximize productivity:

1) Analyze

Deeply analyze the reason for procrastination, is it laziness, fear of failure or inefficiency. If it’s the inefficiency to perform the task then learn how to do it, if it is laziness then work towards it and overcome it. As it is said, the more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war. Work hard now so you can be at ease and confident in the exam. 

2) Organize

Organize yourself to decide what is to be done first, you can use a calendar or sticky notes for better planning. While studying, keep yourself away from mobile phones and other distractions. You can use apps like Tasker, Screen time, Social Fever etc. to keep a track of time spent on the phone and different applications. This will limit your phone usage and thus save valuable time.

3) Break the task

Break your work into small steps and try to do one thing at a time. Divide a subject into small topics. Take a break after every 45 minutes of sincere study because concentration capacity starts decreasing after that. 

4) Give it a try

If a task seems boring or difficult, try doing it for half an hour instead of procrastinating it and you will actually end up doing it for more time or might even finish it to your surprise. Most of the things seem difficult because we haven’t tried them yet. So, if you think any subject is not your cup of tea, try doing a bit of it and, you might find it doable or even easy.  

5) Difficult task first

Do the most difficult task first and after that everything else will seem very easy. We often run away from difficult things and end up procrastinating them. So, from next time instead of running away from your difficult tasks, deal with them with a positive attitude. If you are scared of Quants, do Quants first. Solve some extra problems. If you get stuck somewhere, seek help from others in learning it. If you face difficulty in English, start a vocabulary book, have conversations in English and read English articles.

6) Reward yourself

Set deadlines and work towards them, reward yourself for achieving the deadlines. By rewarding yourself at the moment, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realization that your efforts result in a positive reward. Decide what portion you will finish in a day and if you do it on time, treat yourself with something you like, for example: listening to music, meeting friends, or a simple thing like chocolate/ ice-cream. Next time your likeliness to meet the deadline will increase as it is easier to pay attention when something is at stake.

7) Pre-plan for tomorrow

Before going to bed, make an outline for tomorrow’s task, this will give you a direction. You can maintain a small diary or follow-up book where you can make a checklist of finished and leftover tasks.

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Few tips to develop a doer attitude by changing your mindset:

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

William James

1) Take Responsibility

Start taking responsibility for your behaviour and stop making excuses. Excuses stop you from reaching your full potential. Be responsible for your studies and solving doubts instead of blaming circumstances and other people.

2) Avoid Instant Gratification

Stop seeking instant gratification, we choose present us over future us. Watching web series might give you temporary pleasure but ultimately wastes a lot of time because obviously you can’t resist yourself from watching the entire series after watching just one episode. Be willing to sacrifice present comforts for future happiness. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Remember Khalil Gibran’s words- “The lust for comfort murders the passions of the soul”. Struggle now for your goals and dreams rather than regretting later when you don’t get them. Study now so that you don’t stare blankly at the computer screen during the exam, wishing you should have studied instead of roaming and lazing around. 

3) Self-Discipline is the key

Self-discipline is the key to success. You are what you are when nobody is watching you. So be true to yourself. Study even when nobody is keeping an eye on you. Don’t fake studying and make a fool of yourself by lying to yourself.

4) Enjoy the work

Start enjoying your work. When you love what you do, it won’t feel like work, your overall productivity will improve and it enhances your performance. You will feel optimistic and motivated. You will learn faster and make fewer mistakes. So start seeking pleasure while learning new concepts, solving math puzzles. Make it a fun thing to do.  

5) Stay Motivated

“There is only one kind of suffering that is not to be that which you are capable of ” – Osho. Study your goals and work hard for their achievement. If you are capable of getting into one of the top colleges, but you end up getting a mediocre college because of your habit of procrastination, you will suffer and regret it throughout your life. We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Keep reminding yourself of your goal, it will keep you motivated. Here is an interesting read on “How to keep yourself motivated for CAT?”

6) Choose your friends wisely

Stay close to people who inspire you to do better. This will boost your performance. In the words of Jim Rohn – “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

7) Remember why you started

Whenever you feel like giving up, remember the reason why you started in the first place. Think of how it will change your life. For eg:  you wanted to lift up your family or to give more comfort to your parents or you wanted a good package and a better lifestyle or any other self-actualization need which made you start the work in the first place. 

8) Perseverance

Lastly, actions will destroy your procrastination. Make a plan and work for it. It might be trendy and seem cool to study at the last moment or one night before the exam but exams like CAT demand practice, logic and aptitude which you can’t develop in a day. Continuous efforts and perseverance are needed for that. So pull your socks up and avoid procrastination.

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