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Nine ways to stop procrastinating during exam period

Bye bye Netflix

Every student knows what exam period means. Teaching yourself the material from the whole semester, overdosing on coffee and energy drinks, moving into the library… and procrastinating. Unfortunately, procrastination is a part of everyone’s exam period – even though some of us don’t want to admit it.

We've put together a handy guide to avoid falling down a Twitter hole and help make your exam period more productive.

Cancel your Netflix subscription

This might be quite a challenge. However, I’ve done it before and I can really recommend it. We all know how time-consuming Netflix is and how much time we would save if we cancelled the subscription. Plus it’s not forever, you’ll re-buy it once your exam period is over and you’ll catch up with all of the episodes you’d missed. Brb social life, just got to catch up on EVERYTHING!

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Is there anything better than a duvet day?

Reward yourself

Yes, I'm serious, do what your parents were doing to you when you were a little child. Instead of distracting yourself during studying with all of the tempting things around you, promise yourself to watch a movie, go for a walk or order a pizza in the evening after you finish everything you had to do that day. Pizza tastes so much better when you've earnt it after all.

Make a list and cross out tasks as you complete them

This might seem pointless but it really works – take a piece of paper, make a to-do list and cross out what’s done instead of cutting or ripping it away. It’s been scientifically proven that we feel more self-motivated if we can clearly see how much we’ve achieved and that it keeps us going with the whole list, meaning that we procrastinate less.

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This is the most satisfying thing to look at

Your phone may actually help you out

If you're the type of person who can’t survive without their phone, (and I’m not gonna lie – most of us are) you should realise how effectively you can use it to avoid procrastination. You can start with the most obvious apps. Use your timer to keep track of your study breaks. Create a daily plan for yourself on your calendar and stick to it. Set set yourself reminders with the things you have to do so you don't lose your place every time you get a Snapchat.

Download some anti-procrastination apps

If you are a die hard procrastinator, there are loads of apps that you can download and use. Forest helps you mute your phone for a set amount of time and focus on what you have to do; it has a fun aspect too as you can invite your friends to take the challenge with you and grow virtual trees while you work. Procraster helps you find the source of your procrastination and overcome it so that you can manage your tasks. There is also Trello which is basically all about organising: you can organise your tasks into 'to do', 'doing' and 'done' which helps you see the progress you're making.

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Super helpful and you're not killing trees to make to-do lists

Hide your phone

Sometimes even these methods aren't enough, and to fully reach your studying potential you shouldn’t be able to see it. What I can recommend is putting it out of reach it so it’s not a distraction. You can put it behind your back, hide it in a drawer or under the duvet on the bed. It doesn’t have to be far away, the point is that the less you see it, the less you think about it and want to check it.

Hide your other potential distractors

Your phone isn’t your only distraction. For some people it might even be the clock. Seeing the clock slowly counting down the time until your exam might stress you out. If you are one of these students, put the clock away or cover it so you can't see the time. No matter what your distraction might be, try to cover it, hide it or move it. Why? Simply because the more distractions we have around us, the more likely we are to procrastinate.

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Motivational quotes are KEY

Try talking to yourself out loud

I know this might sound silly but believe me or not, it works well. First of all, try to read your notes out loud when studying – it is an easy but effective type of self-motivation. Everything depends on your attitude – the more you motivate yourself, the more effective your studying will be and the less time you will waste on procrastinating. Plus, it is proven that we are more likely to remember the things we read if we read them out loud. If you're worried about being judged, whack some headphones in and people will think you're just on a really boring phone call.

Go outside

Obviously, one of the biggest distractions during the spring exam period is the weather. Sitting at the desk in your room and watching the sun shine through your window is not the best way to enjoy the warm temperature. Don't deny yourself the experience of sitting on the grass in the park feeling the rays of sunshine on your face and the breeze in your hair. You can actually do it as a way of studying, not as a way of procrastination. Take some books, a notebook, a pen and go to the park. Find a quiet place where you can sit and study on your own and combine business with pleasure. You'll also get some vitamin D, and who doesn't want that?

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Put your drink down and get to work

So, there we go, no more excuses for not studying. Good luck to everyone this exam season, you're gonna smash it!