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How to actually get some work done over the Easter break

Not that I’m one to talk lol

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Given writing this article is in itself a form of procrastination, I suppose lecturing you on how to motivate yourself to work is something of an act of hypocrisy. But whatever. At least I’ve recognised my own weaknesses. I encourage all of you to do the same.

The Cambridge Easter break is a curse disguised as a blessing. We emerge from the dark, dreary depths of Lent Term, looking forward to some much-needed and well-earned relaxation. Five weeks of rest. How lovely. But wait. Cambridge would never just offer us something like that on a plate; there is always a catch. In this case, the catch is that the only reason Cambridge has given us this wonderfully long break is they expect us to work. Take a break, our supervisors tell us. But also bear in mind that you won’t even get a 2.1 unless you work your arse off over the holidays. That’s the vibe I get anyway. Conflicting advice, to say the least.

Thus (see, I can’t get out of essay mode), we sadly have to conform to such expectations. What therefore follows (ahhhh I can’t stop), is a comprehensive set of tips on how to stop procrastinating, knuckle down and actually get something productive done.

1. Cast aside your nomophobia (yes, that really is a thing)

First and foremost, GET RID OF YOUR PHONE. Leave it upstairs while you work downstairs or vice versa. Whether you want to admit it or not, your phone is a massive distraction. The Snapchat app will be open before you even realise what you’re doing. You’ll justify going on Facebook because you need to double check the time of an event, then you’ll end up scrolling through your newsfeed for twenty minutes. You’ll find yourself looking through photos from sixth form, placing a Boohoo order, going on Ebay, checking your bank balance (eek), updating your LinkedIn… anything other than the work that’s in front of you. This all probably sounds depressingly familiar. And unfortunately, the only solution is to extract yourself from the clutches of your iPhone.

2. Listen to the right music

Secondly, if you’re the type who works best with music, listen to one of EVAN CARMICHAEL’S productive music playlists on YouTube (personally, I think the April 2017 #EntVibes compilation is the best). Basically, he remixes stuff from the charts but without the lyrics. The end result is catchy, energetic music that you won’t find yourself singing along to. This also negates the need to work with your phone by your side – just have YouTube open in another tab on your laptop.

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3. Plan daily

I would say it is inadvisable to spend a long time constructing a plan for the entirety of the break, because it is highly unlikely you'll be able to stick to it. Instead, at the start of each day, decide what you want to achieve, and roughly calculate how long it will take. Make sure you allow yourself regular breaks. Divide up your time and set yourself a reward. Having something to look forward to can be a powerful incentive.

See below for an example!

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4. Work with a tea, coffee or any other suitable beverage

From my experience, this genuinely helps. It acts as a mini incentive. Take a sip at the end of every paragraph, or practice question. It also encourages you to stay sat at your desk, so you avoid getting distracted – your cuppa is your distraction.

A wee glass of wine can also help get those creative juices flowing if you’re banging out an essay…

5. Vary your working environment

Finally, don’t always study in the same place. Variety is the key to staying motivated; if your routine is the same every day, you’re more likely to get distracted. Work up in your bedroom one day, then on the floor in the living room the next, then at the kitchen table… or you could venture out the house and get some work done in a café or your local library. If you’re feeling brave enough, you could even leave your phone at home.

Ok, so it is now time for me to stop writing articles for the Tab about procrastination and start taking my own advice… wish me luck!