Aaron’s Hot Tips: Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the biggest challenges, and there’s a simple way to solve it. Get over to the duck on the rainbow road, who will lead you to a cow being milked by a 4 legged fish. Take that fish to your local fish market and request to see Steve. He has an eye patch and a wooden leg and he can tell you how to find the genie that grants one wish. Then use that wish to help out with Procrastination.
It’s as simple as that 😉

Now it’s time to get serious. I’m going to list a few of my hot tips that help me get my head down to study, which I’m sure will help you all out.

Aaron’s Hot Tips

Aaron’s Hot Tip #1

Step one is the funnest tip and, no, it isn’t ‘just sit down and do your study’. Stopping procrastination starts way before that. My first tip is to enjoy the little things. As corny as this may sound, if you can take your mind off your assignment whilst you are in a different class, playing your favourite sport or even watching a ‘can’t miss’ episode of Glee, enjoy it. The more you can de-stress throughout the day, the easier it will be for you to study and remember all your information. I’m sure there are studies that back me up. Probably…

Aaron’s hot tip #2

This next hot tip is all about your study area. If you are like me and look for any decent excuse to avoid studying, cleaning my desk is a must. That way I have a nice, neat desk that will make me more proactive, right? Then, since I’m already cleaning, I may as well clean up the rest of my room, and you don’t have a clean room unless its vacuumed. And since I’m already vacuuming, I may as well do the entire house, and I then conveniently remember I haven’t done my washing for 3 weeks (or since my last study sesh).

I think you get the point I’m trying to make. There is a simple solution: take 5 minutes after you finish your assignment to clean up the war zone so that the next time you can just sit down and study without wasting 2 hours cleaning your house.

Aaron’s hot tip #3

Cry. Cry and prepare yourself for work. We all know that you would much rather spend hours trolling through various Jenna Marbles videos but they will be there later. Your due dates do not move. (Please don’t actually cry. Assignments can be fun and stimulating!)

Aaron’s hot tip #4

Make your favourite drink to take into battle with you. This is your ally and you should drink it wisely. I find it helps me de-stress when things start to get heated, like when I lose my leg or something.

The reason I say prepare your drink before you start is because once you have started studying you will look for any excuse to get out of studying. For example: I like to drink tea with my assignments. It’s pretty quick to make, right? Turn the kettle on, then one minute later you pour the water into your cup with a tea bag and you’re good to go. WRONG! I find that if I’m in the middle of an assignment and need a drink I’ll innocently go out to make tea and end up making one of my famous triple-chocolate peppermint ruffle cakes before I return to my assignment (tune in next time for recipe).

Editor’s note: I am so looking forward to that post.

Moral of the story, brew your tea (or make whatever drink you’re having) before you commence studying!

Aaron’s hot tip #5:                 

Second last hot tip here, and it’s important!

START! Just start as soon as possible, and remember my mum’s favourite saying (for greater effect, imagine this in an old, whiny voice): “the sooner you start something, the sooner you’re done.”

Aaron’s hot tip #6:

Hand it in, dance, do a back-flip, then go watch that Jenna Marbles video you were dying to see.

And now for a video. It may go a little against my message, but I think it fits:



Editor’s note: …How?

How does that fit?

I just…I don’t see the connection. It was…

You know what? I’m out.

How to juggle study, assignments, work and family

My initial reaction is DON’T DO IT! But in saying that, I have juggled all these balls and more and survived to tell the tale.

My best tip of all is to get organised! “Not again with the organised bit!” I hear you say. Sorry, but it’s the only way I survived. The Library has resources and planners that can assist you in planning your week, month and semester. Take a few minutes to throw yourself into this rewarding task. Yes, I’m serious! It is rewarding when you allocate time and end up not being totally wasted from anxiety and stress.

It’s important to make sure that, when you slot in lectures, tutorials and assignment writing time, that you give yourself time to chillax. Otherwise, the wheels will fall off and you will be totally smashed.

So if I have inspired you to give organising a try then my job is done! Good luck in your studies. If I can do it, you certainly can!


Time Management: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

DSC_0142Hello there! So week four has now arrived, and it finally hits you, that oh-my-god-everything-is-due-next-week-why-didn’t-I-start-preparing-earlier realisation. Week five seems to be a pretty popular time for deadlines; at least for the business school  all four of my assessments are due next week *gulp*! So what better time than now for me to share some of my, ahem, wisdom, about time management?

I claim to be totally pro at this topic because for one of my subjects last semester I did an assignment where I tried different time management techniques over the course of five weeks. The sad thing is, I still ended up writing the report at 2am (oh, the irony). But along the way I still learned a few different techniques and found what works and what doesn’t work for me. So, here I am today to share some of my tips and experiences with you. Remember, everyone works differently, so what works for me may not work for you, but hopefully, some of these time management techniques I share with you might provide you with some inspiration or help you come up with some of your own ideas for managing your time!

1.       Create to-do lists

This would have to be my number one tip for managing your time. Without to-do lists, I feel like I would go crazy because I can’t quantify the tasks I need to do. With all the tasks running around in my head it feels like an endless avalanche. This overwhelms me, and I end up eating a dozen MaltEaster bunnies and napping for three hours instead of doing something productive.

But here’s the important thing, don’t just create one to-do list  create a couple. I like to create one massive list that has every single thing I can think of that I need to do, whether it’s assignments, dropping an application form for something in, or even taking my clothes to the drycleaners.  This to-do list isn’t time bound either. And when I say I put everything on there, I mean everything, not just study-related things. I find this really handy because it means that the smaller tasks I might need to do don’t get completely forgotten. Then, I also like to create a daily to-do list. This allows me to select a couple of things at a time from the bigger list, and balance everything with my studies. I often like to create my daily to-do list the night before, particularly when I have uni. It makes me feel a lot more prepared and in control for the day ahead.

2.       “I’ll just do…”

Having to write a 2000 word report or study for a test that covers a whole month’s worth of topics is no mean feat. Leaving it until the last minute is often a very stressful and draining experience. You end up having to pull a late night to get you through the deadline, which throws you out for a good few days afterwards.

One good way to tackle this is to break down the task into small, manageable chunks, and set yourself deadlines for these tasks. For example, if you have a 2000 word report due, maybe aim to do 250 words a day over the course of a week, or do the introduction one day, then one body paragraph the next, etc. You can adjust this to go at your own pace. What I find good with this technique is that one day I may not be that productive and perhaps only manage to do 150 words instead of 250, but at least I’m 150 words up from where I might otherwise be. Plus, the following day I might find I can sit down and smash out 450 words quite easily. I call this the “I’ll just do…” approach, for example “I’ll just revise this part of the topic for the test tonight…” etc.

3.       Time management matrix

The time management matrix is a table involving four quadrants:

Urgent Not Urgent
Important e.g. meeting immediate deadlines e.g. exercising
Not important e.g. checking your emails e.g. Surfing the internet for no reason

According to Susanne de Janasz, the time management matrix involves differentiating between what’s important and what’s urgent. It’s based on the notion that we never seem to have the time to be able to invest in those activities that are important to us, because we’re always too busy rushing around trying to get through all of the urgent activities. De Janasz says that ‘the more time spent on important but not urgent activities, the better you will be able to manage your time’.

This is why the matrix is a good way for you to keep track of everything and find more balance. If you keep at it long enough, you may find that you can keep on top of your assignments so that they don’t become too ‘urgent’, so that you still have time to watch an episode of your favourite tv show or catch up with friends.

4.       Find your optimal study environment

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s an important one. Try and find the environment that you work best in. Do you work better in the library at uni because home is too distracting? Or maybe you have another little nook at uni that you like to study in. Or do you have a good study space set up at home that works well for you? This can make a huge impact on the effectiveness of your study time.

Studying at home might mean you are constantly going away from your studies for a break and watching TV, grabbing something to eat, or playing with your pets (story of my life), so maybe it would be better to stay a couple of extra hours at uni to do some reading or smash out some of that assignment. Those couple of extra hours at uni may be more productive than at home, which means you can then go home and have a break and watch some TV without feeling guilty.

Other things to consider in your environment might be: do you study better in complete silence or with some background noise? Do you like to listen to music when you study? Do you need a clutter free environment? Thinking about these factors as well will lead you on the path to finding the best study environment for you.

5.       Find your optimal study time

Now this one is a bit trickier, but if you can figure out your optimal study time, you will make life so much easier for yourself. Do a bit of trial and error by breaking your day into different sections and try studying during those different times, e.g. early morning, late morning, afternoon, evening, etc. If you can find the time that your energy levels are at their peak, study then, because otherwise you’ll be trying to study when you’re feeling sluggish, and you’ll end up wasting your peak energy. If you’re trying to write that introduction for your report at four in the afternoon when you’re actually a morning person, it could take you two hours instead of half an hour.


Being able to manage your time effectively is also a very important skill in the workplace, so if you can gain some good skills now, they will really benefit you in the future. Remember, no one is perfect, so don’t suddenly expect yourself to become totally perfect at managing your time. Like I said earlier, I’m certainly far from perfect at managing my time, but my view is, if some of these techniques help me get through one, just one assignment (or test) that little bit easier, then it’s worth it.

Hopefully you find some of these tips helpful. What about you? Do you have any other good tips about time management? Let me know in the comments!


Procrasti….Blog Writing????

2012-01-15 16.36.10So I’m guessing everybody heard all of this talk about procrastinating, procasti-cleaning, procasti-baking…the list goes on. Well currently I have assignments, weekly tasks, readings running out of my…. i mean piling up around me and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day let alone a light at the end of the tunnel. So in the spirit of procrastination I thought i’d just ‘Procrasti-blogwrite’ rather than actually do some work. Currently in the distance i can hear some procrasti-tabletennis and procrasti-pool or maybe they are just on a study break. Whatever you call it, procrastination is a problem that everyone deals with, even the SALs. Sometimes, though there comes a time where you just have to take a good hard look at yourself, tell yourself that study is actually more important than cleaning the gap between the fridge and the cupboard and just do some study. Now that’s off my chest its time to procrasti-study!!!!



RyanProcrastination is one of those damaging habits we all have. It’s kind of like a night of heavy drinking. Despite that you know last time ended badly, when the next Wednesday night comes around you still end up partying so hard your friend drags you naked from the neighbour’s kitchen before you set your hair on fire, and the next morning you wake with a hangover so blinding that you moan at the sun, begging it not to eat you while willing yourself to die. You tell yourself you’ll never do it again. And then you arrive at a friend’s twenty-first…

Procrastination tends to involve more crying and fewer terrible dance moves, but the cycle is the same. It doesn’t matter how bad our previous experience was, when the next assignment rolls around we still find ourselves checking Facebook or looking at kitten pictures instead of doing our much-needed research.

So how can you change that?

Well, it’s not easy, and almost every method is going to involve some level of self-discipline. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix to this. We can’t just flick a switch and turn off the desire to look at pictures of kittens. And why would you want to? Everybody loves kittens. Everybody. Yes, I’m looking at you.

The first solution is to try and work on your time management skills. Try blocking out times of day that are strictly for assignments. To make this more effective and less daunting, try and be as specific as possible. If you decide that between 10 and 12 you’ll ‘work on assignments’ then you’re likely to sit down at that time, just feel daunted by the sheer amount of assignmenting you have to do, freak out for five minutes and then look at pictures of kittens. Try to reduce it; make it as specific as possible. Rather than ‘work on assignments’ try ‘develop structured plan for law essay’ or ‘find and annotate five journal articles for anatomy research report’. Make it achievable and know what you have to do.

But we’re not all that good at timetabling. If somebody tells me to ‘keep a diary’ my brain hears ‘draw ponies’, because that’s inevitably what I end up doing (they’re some pretty awesome pony pictures, too). One thing that works really well for me is to try and reward myself for reaching milestones, and that might work for you, too. Your friends are going to the movies tonight? You can’t go until you’ve written 200 words. Really in the mood for donuts? You can buy them once you’ve found four journal articles. Hoping to buy that waistcoat you saw? Only once you’ve finished that psychology report. You want to eat dinner tonight? NOT UNTIL YOU’VE WRITTEN THAT ESSAY!*

Finally, it helps to minimise all possible distractions. If you really can’t tear your eyes away from those kittens then turn off the modem. Maybe turn off your phone and ask anyone in the house to leave you alone for a bit while you work. If you can, it helps to designate a ‘study area’ that’s removed from any distractions. I know, it sounds clichéd, but it works. Do it. Alternatively, if you can’t get people to leave you alone, maybe try to involve them in some way. Make sure the people you share a house with know that you want to write 500 words tonight and encourage them to motivate you, so that when they see you looking at kittens they can turn off the internet and stride in with a menacing grin.

So there you have it! Hopefully some of those tips come in handy. It’s in no way a definitive list, so feel free to comment with anything you find particularly effective. Also, I have no doubt that half of you read this instead of working on that assignment, so GET BACK TO WORK.

*I am not seriously condoning starvation as a form of motivation. Don’t do that. Really guys, don’t. That’ll just end up badly for everyone and the essay still won’t get done. Plus you’ll be dead. That’s super bad.


Where do you find the time..

Glenn_6So the semester has started and all of my courses are finalised. No clashes is a good start and lectures and tute’s go into Google calendar first. Now I just need to put aside time for reading, assignments, work, the second job, exercise, friends and sleep. Some ‘me’ time would probably be a good idea too. After all that there just aren’t many spaces left to be spontaneous, but I can swap things around within reason week to week. I guess the most important thing is to be clear on what I should be doing so I can be more likely to actually do it!! Putting the weekly events into my calendar isn’t the end of it though. The semester goes for 14 weeks including the two week break. Time to check out the course descriptions and map out when assignments will be due and a few reminders to scare me into action. When its all done it looks a bit intimidating but definitely do-able. After all, there’s only 14 weeks study, exams and then……. a three month break 😉