Academic Toolbox #3: Distractions and Procrastination

5 February 2012

Hola everyone!
As promised, I've collected a few more scholastic tips to hopefully get you through the day. Below I tackle common distractions, and how to get motivated to complete projects for school/work. 
1. Download Self-Control (Mac) or K9 (PC) and load up all the websites that you find yourself drawn to during study lulls. Mine currently holds a blacklist containing Facebook, my blogs, and a few sites I find myself frequently online window-shopping. Whatever your literary or visual vice, place it on the list. THEN, set up a time block. I have mine counting down until 11pm today.

2. Make a To-Do List every day. Or a weekly To-Do list divided into daily tasks. Carry it around with you and add, or strike out, items. Sometimes I find I finish tasks that I set our for Friday, on a Tuesday, because I happen to be in a certain area of the city or I am hit with inspiration, etc. Don't live or die by the list, but do use it as a solid guide.

3. Have a small notebook to write stuff down. Ideas, quotes, future plans; you never know when you'll need to look back on it. It's quite helpful. I used to make tons of lists on my phone, but then I'd never look at them, rendering the action useless. Do what works for you.

4. If you have to write an essay or paper, JUST DO IT. Waiting for inspiration or anxiety to hit is a waste of time. Even if you think it's terrible, and you don't know where your thoughts are dragging you, put it to paper and get it done. I always find myself surprised at the outcome, and then I spend time editing and changing sections a few days later. It's worth it. Stop waiting for inspiration. [Sometimes your brain just needs a bit of prodding & stretching before it begins sprinting.]

5. Schedule in something fun and quick after every hour or two of work. I make a hot chocolate/tea, or I paint my nails, read a good blog post, put on a face mask, write down a quote for my office wall, etc. 

6. Have a sheet of paper with you while studying or at work. I start filling it with concepts I don't understand, or systems I need to research. For example, I have a gastrointestinal systems exam this coming Monday. Thus far I have written "Watch peristalsis video clip" and "Find image summary of GI transporters from mouth to colon". Don't depend on yourself to remember it later. It rarely works. Write it down.

7. Take ten minutes to meditate. Realign your chakras, and clear that head of yours. You'll be surprised at how much you get done afterwards. Oprah does this twice a day for 20 minutes, and she runs a media empire. If she has time to do it, so do you.

Now off you go lads & lasses!


  1. Hey, great Post! Today is my free day, but tomorrow i try to remember your tips. I'm a medicine student, so I'm learning similar stuff right now. What are GI- Transporters? ;-) Do you know if The Self Control App. Works for iPad too? Have a Nice evening

  2. Heya! GI transporters are proteins that transfer ions, or amino acids, or polysaccharides + many more, across the small intestine for absorption. The self control app is only for mac computers, I doubt it'll work on the iPad. Although that would be a great idea! Good luck.

  3. Self Control is honestly my savoir when it comes to studying. Great post!!


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